UNC Charlotte’s Energy Production and Infrastructure Center (EPIC) is the recipient of another major gift to support its efforts to train engineers for the nation’s growing energy sector.
On Dec. 12, Westinghouse Electric Co. committed more than $3 million to EPIC. The gift includes equipment, future courses in topics such as crane and nuclear fuel-handling design, and scholarships.
Speaking at a news conference on campus, Chancellor Philip L. Dubois said the need for engineers to work in the energy industry has never been greater. He pointed to a U.S. Department of Labor report that concluded at least 26,000 new workers will be needed to build and operate the power plants of the future.
"This kind of support is critical to the success of this program, which we foresee as a model for business and education cooperation in the energy sphere," Dubois said. "EPIC will match the needs of energy companies with graduates who have the comprehensive skill sets needed to compete in the 21st century."
– Philip L. Dubois, Chancellor
The donation includes two 30-ton industrial cranes; a training course for crane design; training equipment for the handling of nuclear fuel; a training course for fuel-handling equipment design; training equipment and classes related to the nuclear instrumentation and control business; and an introduction to welding course along with use of the Westinghouse welding test shop in Rock Hill, S.C.
Included in the gift from is equipment that will enable students to simulate the nuclear refueling process. In addition, the computers and software being donated will allow the University to simulate the operation of the new industry standard, the AP1000 reactor.
The training equipment has already been shipped and installed at the EPIC facility on the UNC Charlotte campus, and related courses are scheduled to begin in the fall of 2012.
"Contributions like this enable us to supply graduates who understand the industry and the associated work," said Johan Enslin, director of EPIC and the Duke Energy Distinguished Chair in Power Engineering Systems.