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UW is hosting its first ‘National Lab Day’ to connect students with energy experts

Idaho National Laboratory logo
Idaho National Laboratory focuses on nuclear energy and has partnered with Wyoming on projects.

The University of Wyoming (UW) is connecting students with top-level energy researchers this week. The hope is to brainstorm ideas for the state’s energy future.

During UW’s National Lab Day, workers from 17 National Laboratories will descend upon campus.

“Those are really great research facilities that are established by the U.S. Department of Energy to deal with the energy resources and energy challenges,” said Parag Chitnis, UW vice president for research and economic development.

The idea is to connect students and faculty with these energy experts, to discuss the different types of energy sectors that could be part of Wyoming’s future.

“So nuclear energy is one of them,” Chitnis said. “How can we really prepare our students and do research to develop a nuclear energy sector in Wyoming?”

The TerraPower nuclear plant is planned for the Kemmerer area, with an opening date slated for the early 2030s. Meanwhile many coal plants are closing in Wyoming by 2030.

Chitnis also hopes students can make future career connections. He said more than a dozen UW students have already landed internships at national laboratories.

“They will be able to use state of the art technologies and get research experiences that they won't be able to get in Wyoming,” he said.

Ideally, the students will bring that knowledge back to the state to help solve Wyoming’s energy challenges.

The closest National Laboratory to Wyoming is the Idaho National Lab, which focuses on nuclear energy.

National Lab Day kicked off April 12, and goes through April 13.

Caitlin Tan is the Energy and Natural Resources reporter based in Sublette County, Wyoming. Since graduating from the University of Wyoming in 2017, she’s reported on salmon in Alaska, folkways in Appalachia and helped produce 'All Things Considered' in Washington D.C. She formerly co-hosted the podcast ‘Inside Appalachia.' You can typically find her outside in the mountains with her two dogs.

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