The Department of Energy announced more than $56 million for 68 nuclear energy projects and student innovation awards across the country on June 15. The projects will support nuclear technology development, early career faculty research activities, and student research at 35 U.S. universities and one national laboratory. Since 2009, the DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy (DOE-NE) has awarded more than $992 million to advance nuclear energy research and train the next generation of nuclear engineers and scientists.
"These awards are a crucial investment in our nation’s nuclear energy technologies, universities, and next generation of researchers and scientists,” said assistant secretary for nuclear energy Kathryn Huff. “The funding will help ensure researchers and educators have the resources they need to keep making a difference.”
Specifics: The awards are divided into four focus areas that support nuclear energy research efforts at U.S. universities and national laboratories in 25 states:
- Research and Development ($47.2 million)—Supports 46 awards and brings collaborative teams together to solve complex problems to advance nuclear technology and understanding. Forty-three of those awards (totaling $41.2 million) were granted as Nuclear Energy University Program (NEUP) R&D Awards in eight categories: advanced nuclear materials, fuel cycle technologies, fuels, instrumentation and controls, licensing and safety, modeling and simulation, reactor development and plant optimization, and “strategic needs blue sky.” A majority of the projects will receive $1 million, which was also the highest amount awarded to the 43 NEUP R&D recipients. A full list of the 43 projects and their abstracts is available on the DOE’s NEUP website.
The other three projects classed under R&D are Integrated Research Project Awards granted to three consortiums, led by the University of Michigan ($3 million), CUNY City College ($1.5 million), and Virginia Commonwealth University ($1.5 million).
- Facility Access ($6.3 million)—Provides three research teams access to the unique capabilities of nuclear science user facilities to advance nuclear science understanding. The research teams are led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Purdue University, and the University of Texas—San Antonio.
- Early Career Faculty ($3.1 million)—Invests in the innovative research and education programs of five early career university instructors to advance new lines of inquiry and mission critical research in nuclear energy.
- Innovations in Nuclear Energy R&D Student Competition ($43,000)—Recognizes and awards 14 published graduate and undergraduate students for innovative nuclear energy research.