The 2013 Nuclear Engineering Student Delegation

From July 7–12, 16 students from around the country came to Washington, D.C., to talk with politicians and policymakers about nuclear engineering education funding, energy policy, and other nuclear issues as part of the 2013 Nuclear Engineering Student Delegation (NESD).

This year the delegation was composed of students with especially diverse backgrounds, including nuclear engineering, chemical engineering, materials science, and nuclear safeguards policy. The chair of the delegation was Matthew Gidden, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studying nuclear engineering and energy policy. He was assisted by two co-vice chairs: Mark Reed of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Nicholas Thompson of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Representing the Department of Nuclear Engineering at Texas A&M were Lane Carasik, and Vishal Patel, graduate students of the department.NESD 1

The NESD began in 1994 as a response to deep cuts in funding for nuclear research reactors in the fiscal year 1995 budget. Funding was ultimately restored to the program in part due to the efforts of these first delegates. Following this initial success, the NESD has returned every year to bring the voice of nuclear engineering students to Washington. This year, we had the distinct honor to meet with key governmental affairs staff at Areva and from the Nuclear Energy Institute, high-level staff at the Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy, four of the five Nuclear Regulatory Commission commissioners (including the chairman), non-proliferation experts at the Department of State, budget staff at the Office of Management and Budget, congressional staff on the Natural Resources and Environment and Public Works Committees, and over 100 congressional offices including some meetings with representatives and senators in person.

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The trip included policy statement writing, a meeting with the governmental affairs staff of AREVA, visits to the Nuclear Energy Institute, the Department of Energy to meet with the Office of Nuclear Energy, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission headquarters in Rockville, Md., the Department of State, the Office of Management and Budget, dinner with NRC Commissioner Bill Magwood, and spending time at Capitol Hill. 

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