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FMU reaps roughly $250,000 in nuclear education grants from U.S. NRC

 

FLORENCE — The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has awarded more than $250,000 in grants to Francis Marion University’s health physics program. The money will be used to help broaden the pool of candidates needed in the environmental and safety arena of a growing nuclear industry.

“We are proud of our faculty’s growing success in obtaining grants that are vital to the university’s commitment to teaching, research and public service,” said FMU Provost Richard Chapman. “These grants will fund studies to improve the health and well-being of South Carolinians and advance scientific knowledge in areas critical to our nation’s needs, including nuclear safety, security and environmental protection.”

·        The Health Physics Scholarship Program at FMU grant of $152,833 was awarded by NRC to scientist Derek Jokisch, FMU associate professor of physics.

It will be used to fund six full-year scholarships and two, one-semester, freshman scholarships to eligible students studying health physics at FMU. The goal is to increase the number of high-quality students pursuing and achieving careers in health physics and the nuclear sciences, Jokish said.

Applications for one-year scholarships for up to $10,000 are available now. Recipients must be full-time sophomores, juniors or seniors majoring in health physics and maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0. Half of the scholarship is awarded in the fall semester. The recipient will receive the other half of the scholarship in the spring semester provided they still meet the eligibility requirements.

Students may apply for the one-semester FMU Freshman Health Physics Scholarship of $5,000 in November 2009. It will be awarded in the spring 2010 semester. Recipients must be full-time freshmen majoring in health physics and maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0.

Recipients of both scholarships would need to reapply competitively for scholarships in year two (2010-2011). 

·        The FMU Improvements to the Health Physics Education Infrastructure Grant for $103,211 was awarded by NRC to Jokisch.

The funding from this grant will be used for the development of two new courses in the existing undergraduate health physics program and the acquisition of laboratory equipment and supplies in support of those courses. 

The first course, Practical Applications of Health Physics, will be taught for the first time in spring 2010. It will expound on the basic principles and cover topics in personnel dosimetry, radioactive transport, neutron detection and dosimetry, risk assessment, nuclear homeland security, environmental transport and other applied health physics topics. In addition, the course will address nuclear fuel cycle issues including reprocessing and long-term waste storage.

The course was developed and will be taught by Philip Fulmer, FMU associate professor of physics, who has more than 10 years experience as a professional health physicist in the nuclear industry.

The second course, Introduction to Radiation Protection, will introduce second year students to the fundamental concepts in health physics and provide radiation safety training. The course will allow sophomore health physics majors to better identify with their major and prepare them for summer internship experiences, Jokisch said.

 “I am pleased with the opportunities that this grant will allow us to offer our students as the interest in nuclear power is renewed,” said Jokish, who developed and will teach the second course. “We will be able to train students to work safely in our nuclear laboratory, better prepare them to participate in summer internships in the nuclear industry and better enable them to identify with their chosen major and future career.”

For additional information, contact Jokisch at (843) 661-4653.

#24/8-26-09

Last Published: September 9, 2009 4:51 PM
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