More than $1.1M goes to Worcester Polytechnic for a revamped nuclear program

Four generous grants from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) have been bestowed on the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Mass., institute officials announced today.

The funds are coming from a wave of funding totaling $15 million from the NRC going out to 37 institutions with dedicated nuclear programs across the country.

"WPI will use the majority of this funding to support the national objective for reinvigorating the nuclear power industry," said Germano S. Iannacchione, head of the WPI department of physics, in a press release. “The other funding will go towards research into improved radiation therapy for cancer patients, as well as improving medical imaging technologies.”

Here is a breakdown of where the funds will be going:

• $400,000 in funding for two graduate students for four years each.
• $367,000 to support faculty development and research at the institution’s Nuclear Science and Engineering Program, which will include dedicated nuclear medicine research.
• $198,000 to fund a fresh curriculum at both the undergraduate and graduate level.
• $196,000 in funding for eight two-year undergraduate student scholarships.

"We were hoping to get one of the four awards we requested,” added Iannacchione. “It’s almost unheard of to have a 100 percent success rate."

This marks a major shift in the institute's nuclear program since the decommisioning of WPI's 10 kilowatt research reactor several years ago.