MCCC nuclear tech plans not altered by Japan

The recent tsunami and earthquake in Japan has the world questioning the safety of nuclear power, but these events won’t affect MCCC’s new nuclear tech program.

MCCC President Dr. David Nixon and Jack Davis, the senior vice president and chief nuclear officer of DTE Energy, signed an Agreement of Understanding on

Monday, Feb. 28, to create a nuclear engineering technology (NUET) program.

While the announcement of the NUET program means an expansion of MCCC’s curriculum, it comes at a time where concern and fear are present in the nuclear energy market.

The recent tsunami and earthquake that hit Japan on Friday, March 11, has threatened the stability of several nuclear reactors in severely affected regions.

The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station in Japan, located 170 miles north of Tokyo, has suffered extensive damage. Of six reactors, four have sustained damage, with radioactivity reaching abnormally high levels and seawater discharge testing positive for radioactive isotopes.

Nixon said he doesn’t think Japan’s problems will derail the MCCC program, although they could impact the curriculum.

Because of the dangers seen in Japan, there might be more emphasis on safety, he said.

“It’s definitely opening up a lot of new discussions regarding nuclear power plants,” Nixon said.

Safety training will be part of the curriculum, but Nixon suspects that the issues in Japan might cause that safety training to expand.

“The two-year associate degree program will be aligned with initial training programs offered by DTE Energy,” Nixon said.

“Students are going to have to learn more because a thorough investigation of the Japan nuclear reactors may result in a whole new list of safety training and strategic planning of additional nuclear power plants.”

Nixon also feels that if nothing else, the NUET program will be beneficial in the process of filling slots that will become open when technicians retire with qualified replacements.

“Even though the tsunami and earthquakes in Japan may slow down growth of new nuclear power plants in America, there are still large numbers of nuclear technicians needed to replace those who are retiring,” Nixon said.

There are several ways to donate to relief funds for Japan, many of which are used in social media outlets and popular online music stores.

Most notably, Apple’s iTunes Store has now added a feature that allows users to directly donate money. Users can click on the icon on the homepage and be directed to donation options, which are processed the same way as a purchase would.

Also, donations can be made through the Red Cross’s Facebook page. Donations can be made through the cause feature, or done by using a text message option.