INL’s Bright Future in Nuclear Scholarship Competition awards Idaho students in 11th and 12th grade planning to study nuclear science or a related STEM field at a college or university. One $4,000 scholarship is awarded to the winner of this competition, with a $2,500 scholarship awarded to the runner-up.

Students are expected to consider and research a question related to nuclear science and prepare a presentation on their solution to present to a panel of INL judges.

The next competition will open in Fall 2021.

Congratulations to the winners of the 2020 Bright Future in Nuclear Scholarship Competition!

First place: Sarah Cole

sarah coleSarah is a senior at Mountain View High School in Meridian, Idaho. She will receive a $4,000 scholarship for her presentation addressing the question: “How can nuclear energy compete economically with energy sources that don’t have to pay for the waste they generate?”

Based on the research she did, she said the industry should 1) reprocess its spent fuel, 2) open a permanent waste repository, and 3) develop advanced reactors and small modular reactors.

With advanced reactors poised to reduce the amount of spent fuel at power plants around the nation, “It makes sense to have one federal repository,” she said.

Sarah hasn’t decided where she wants to go to school or what she plans to major in, mentioning biological, materials science, chemical and nuclear engineering all as possibilities.

Second Place: Andrew Guillen

APG SeniorA senior at Thunder Ridge High School in Idaho Falls, Andrew will receive a $2,500 scholarship for his response to the prompt: “Identify the biggest challenge to expanding nuclear in the United States energy portfolio; propose a solution.”

In his presentation, Andrew recapped the familiar obstacles facing nuclear energy before moving to a more optimistic note. New passively safe designs can prevent or limit the severity of accidents. Digital engineering uses models instead of manual integration of data, resulting in notable risk reductions on construction cost and schedule.

Already training to be an EMT, he plans to start studying at Idaho State University to become a paramedic and ultimately an emergency room physician.