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Civil and Environmental Engineering

Nuclear Environmental Engineering

Masters of Engineering in Environmental Engineering (M.Eng.)

Engineers and scientists working in the nuclear industry are faced with a difficult dual challenge:

  1. meeting the growing needs of society for electric power (approximately 20% of electricity in developed countries is generated by nuclear power plants), while
  2. ensuring that stringent regulatory requirements in the areas of environmental protection and safety are met.

Nuclear Environmental Engineering is the field of study and practice that has grown up over the past decade to address this difficult dual challenge. It draws on the insights of environmental engineering, nuclear engineering, chemical engineering, radiochemistry and health physics to develop engineering solutions to the important problems facing the nuclear industry -- making the entire nuclear fuel cycle, from the mining of uranium ore through disposal of radioactive waste, efficient, safer and more environmentally friendly.

Vanderbilt University School of Engineering offers an area of emphasis in Nuclear Environmental Engineering (NEE) within its Environmental Engineering (M.Eng) degree. Built on the fundamentals of environmental and nuclear engineering, the courses in this emphasis area combine a balance of the latest developments in nuclear chemical processing technologies, advanced nuclear fuel cycle concepts, and radioactive waste management principles with stakeholder issues and emerging regulatory issues; other disciplines that are required in order to understand and solve the broad range of challenges are also addressed.

Throughout the program, the interrelationship of nuclear and environmental protection, safety, design, operations and regulatory requirements and engineering standards are stressed. Practical experience is provided through project case study analysis, a distinguished faculty and invited guest lecturers of national and international prominence.

Areas of Study, M.Eng. Nuclear Environmental Engineering include:

  • The Nuclear Fuel Cycle
  • Life Cycle and Systems Engineering
  • Facility Operations in Concert with the Environment
  • Full Scope Analysis of Risk
  • Improved Nuclear Chemical Processes
  • Evaluation and Incorporation of Stakeholder & Regulatory Insights
  • Radioactive Waste Minimization

Career Advancement

M.Eng. Environmental Engineering graduates emphasizing Nuclear Environmental Engineering are highly sought after and find a wide range of employment opportunities in nuclear facility design, construction, and operations, as well as with regulatory and oversight agencies in the public sector. The courses were developed under grants from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Department of Energy and with substantial input from the Environmental Protection Agency and the nuclear industry.

Contact Information:

Steven L Krahn, Program Director
Graduate Program in Nuclear Environmental Engineering
Vanderbilt University School of Engineering
Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering
steve.krahn@vanderbilt.edu