Danielle Hauck ’03 has spearheaded the undergraduate movement to save the Ward Reactor since its fate was called into question last year. Hauck established the website savethereactor.com in order to educate students concerning the issues surrounding the closing and to rally support in opposition of the administration.
According to Hauck, despite the success of the two rallies held over the past year, she believes the best way for students to express their objection to the decision is to write letters to University officials.
“The administration believes that there is no interest in the reactor and we need to make that support known,” she said. “The projects being conducted at the lab are for the good of humanity and all students have a stake in its closing.”
According to Hauck, it is also essential that University administrators allow lab officials to submit an application for regional reactor status for the Ward Reactor with the Department of Energy (DOE). A grant from the DOE, which would provide the University with up to $2 million per year, would allow the College of Engineering to develop new facilities in conjunction with the existing reactor and to hire staff related to nuclear science and engineering.
“It would be irresponsible for the University to not apply for the grant,” Hauck said.
The Mar. 11 application deadline for the grant is approaching quickly however, and Robert Richardson, vice provost of research, whose approval is necessary for lab officials to submit a proposal to the DOE, maintained yesterday that the grant would not be considered.
“The DOE grant had an initial flaw since part of the obligation for the University would be to teach courses [concerning nuclear engineering] and use the facility as a regional research center,” Richardson said. “We do not have the faculty to teach these courses and it is not in the long-term strategic plan of the College of Engineering to expand these studies.”
Archived article by Jason Leff