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New funding for nuclear science center

September 23, 2011

The U.S. Department of Energy has announced a $150,000 grant for the Rhode Island Nuclear Science Center (RINSC), located on the University of Rhode Island’s Bay Campus in Narragansett. The money will be used to upgrade equipment at the facility, one of just three nuclear research reactors in the Northeast.

Funded by state government, the reactor’s $1.5 million budget has raised the eyebrows of at least one former state lawmaker. Ray Rickman of Providence, a former state representative, believes Rhode Island should cut funding for the reactor and shut it down as a cost saving measure.

RINSC officials maintain that the reactor is an important resource for students at URI and other schools in the area. They also argue that closure would be costly because of the federal rules that govern decommissioning for nuclear reactors.

Congressman Jim Langevin hailed news of the new federal grant, saying the reactor has a role to play in educating future workers.

“This funding will help ensure the center has the best equipment and infrastructure possible to conduct cutting-edge research and educate the next generation of scientists and engineers,” said Langevin. “At a time when we need to build a highly-skilled workforce and promote American leadership in high-tech fields, the Rhode Island Nuclear Science Center’s initiatives are giving students vital hands-on experience.”

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