Safer Nuclear Power
A radiation protection technician has a highly-skilled job that requires intense training.
"Yeah, mostly they are daily involved with radiation and radioactive material. Again, making sure it's used safely," said Bill Miller, professor of nuclear technology. "Making sure it's not released into the environment, making sure people don't get exposed overly from doses from it, that sort of thing."
With a job that important, the U.S. Department of Labor wants to train even more than the 1.3 milllion workers in nuclear energy and radiation.
But, people in those jobs are an older breed.
"Actually, the workforce is aging rapidly," Miller added. "I've seen statistics like 50% of the folks working in the area might be retiring in the next five years."
The Labor Department grant will let MU, Ameren UE and Linn State Technical College develop a way to train technicians who work at nuclear facilities across the U.S.
Linn State has a nuclear training program in cooperation with the Advanced Technology Center of Mexico. The federal grant will help develop that curriculum so other schools can use the same teaching methods. The result of the new training should be a new workforce that's as well trained as those about to retire.
The grant totals $2.3 million. Project leaders hope to start teaching the curriculum next fall.