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BSC's Nuclear Power Program is First for Industry Standard Certification

Posted on 2/25/2011

Bismarck State College's Nuclear Power Technology program was approved in January as the first online program to be approved by the Nuclear Uniform Curriculum Program (NUCP) for the non-licensed operator track. This will allow BSC students completing the associate degree in Nuclear Power to substitute education for training at a nuclear facility, since they will receive a nuclear industry standard certificate.

In 2007, the U.S. nuclear industry launched the NUCP, which is a standardized certificate program designed to ensure the workforce is trained and in place at the right time. By organizing industry partnerships with two-year education programs, resources are leveraged to provide the next generation of highly skilled workers. NUCP is managed by the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI).

As part of the NUCP approval process, a college is required to obtain a Primary Utility Partner for the Nuclear Power program. BSC has partnered with Exelon Corp., the largest owner/operator of nuclear plants in the United States. Without a Primary Utility Partner, an institution's students would not be able to receive a nuclear industry standard certificate.

"The most important benefit of the new NUCP provision is that it allows prospective students and employees greater access to nuclear training," said John Lindsey, director, Fleet Support & Partnerships, Nuclear Training at Exelon Nuclear and member of the NUCP Ad Hoc Committee at the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations. "The online format is beneficial for those who live far from a plant and want to work at one, and also for those who are already busy with their current lives and would like to continue their education; this fits their needs and schedules."

For the past two years Lindsey has been a member of BSC's Nuclear Power Technology Curriculum Advisory Committee working with other select industry representatives as part of the Energy Providers Coalition for Education (EPCE) to advance BSC's nuclear-related online educational programs. The nuclear industry representatives include American Electric Power, Constellation Energy, Dominion Nuclear Business Unit, Duke Energy, Exelon Corporation, Palo Verde Nuclear Generation Station, and South Texas Project nuclear power plant.

"The National Energy Center of Excellence at BSC is honored to tie the Nuclear Uniform Curriculum Program to its Nuclear Power Technology associate degree program," said Kevin Holmstrom, nuclear program manager at BSC. "The National Academy for Nuclear Training Certificate is a tremendous opportunity for students to now earn an industry-approved degree and certification to get them on the right path for a career in the nuclear industry."

Holmstrom and other BSC faculty members have been working with Exelon representatives and EPCE over the past year to revise BSC's Nuclear Power Technology curriculum to meet the requirements for BSC students to receive the National Academy for Nuclear Training Certificate. BSC has been approved by NEI as a Non-Licensed Operator program.

BSC's Nuclear Power Technology program is an online program and one of six BSC energy programs leading to an associate in applied science degree. BSC also offers a bachelor of applied science online degree in energy management.

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