Exploring Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering Camp

For rising 11th – 12th graders
June 25th – July 1st, 2023 (Residential & Commuter)
Hendrick House Residence Hall

Camp is FULL for Summer 2023


Residential: $1,000 per camper. Scholarships are available.
Commuter: $600 per camper. Scholarships are available.

See the Summer Camps FAQs page for more information about camp costs and the Trail Blazer scholarship.

2022 campers working on a lab activity
2022 campers working on a lab activity

Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering (NPRE) is a branch of engineering with broad and diverse but complimentary applications–among them: continued safe and reliable nuclear energy production, risk and reliability assessment, plasma science and engineering, development of fusion reactors, use of radiation for biomedical research and healthcare, and nuclear safeguards and radiation detection for homeland security.

2022 campers visiting a lab
2022 campers visiting a lab

NPRE is for those who:

  • Are passionate about impacting climate change and exploring clean, renewable energy sources
  • Want to innovate the plasma technologies of the future
  • Are interested in harnessing the power of nuclear fusion
  • Want to apply radiological science to advancing medicine, human health, and national security
  • Enjoy experimental hands-on and/or computational research using math, physics, and computer skills

Campers will explore NPRE through lectures and discussions, hands-on activities, computer programming and simulations, demonstrations, lab tours, and field trips.

“I enjoyed visiting the nuclear fusion reactor visit because it was something that I have always wanted to see up close and I finally was able to and get explanations on how it worked and why it is used. I also enjoyed going to the control room simulation at the Clinton Power Station. It was absolutely fascinating to me.” ~2019 Explore NPRE camper

Camp Activities:


2022 campers visiting a lab
2022 campers visiting a lab
  • What is the miraculous atom?
  • How do fission and fusion reactions produce energy?
  • Does radiation really surround us in our everyday lives?
  • How does a nuclear reactor work?
  • What are the different reactor designs?
  • What are thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, and heat transfer?
  • What are the issues regarding nuclear reactor safety?
  • What is a day in the life of a nuclear engineer at a commercial nuclear power plant?
  • Where does material science intersect nuclear engineering?
  • What is plasma and what are its uses?
  • How do plasmas contribute to the fields of medicine and materials processing?
  • What is the role of plasmas in semiconductor manufacturing?
  • What are current developments in fusion reactors?
  • How does a radiation detector work?
  • What are some medical uses of radiation?

Laboratory demonstrations:

  • Learn about radiation dosages, half-life and decay, and shielding
  • Observe vacuum and atmospheric plasmas
  • See how medical imaging is used to diagnose disease
  • Discover how radiation detection helps maintain human health and national security
  • Experience how 3D printing is used in the design process

Possible Tours:

  • Radiation measurements laboratory
  • Multiphase thermo-fluid dynamics laboratory
  • Center for researching plasma-material interactions relevant to fusion, semiconductors, and plasma manufacturing
  • HIDRA, the Hybrid Illinois Device for Research and Applications, a toroidal magnetic fusion device
  • Radiation detection and imaging laboratory
  • Constellation Clinton Power Station

Camp Coordinator(s):

Becky Meline, Senior Coordinator of Undergraduate Program& Academic Advisor, NPRE

From previous years

I-STEM NPRE camp story from 2018

Camp Schedule(s):