North Carolina’s fiscal year 2024 budget for the state has allocated $3 million for North Carolina State University, in Raleigh, to conduct a study to assess the feasibility for the establishment of an advanced nuclear research reactor.
Details: The feasibility study may include the following matters, according to an October 2 statement from the university:
- Assessment of site selection for a reactor.
- Study and analysis of potential environmental impacts.
- Analysis of licensing requirements for a reactor.
- Engineering and construction evaluation of a reactor and associated laboratories, including cost estimates.
- Utilization analysis, including capability development for advanced nuclear power generation in the state.
- Vendor and contractor evaluation.
- Identification of the potential for collaboration with industry, other academic institutions, and state and federal entities.
Past and future: In 1952, NCSU established the first civilian nuclear reactor in the world, the university noted. With the state’s funding, its nuclear engineering department and nuclear reactor program will be able to explore advanced reactor technology for applications in clean energy production, industrial development, and medical research. The funding also will aid the state and the nation in establishing advanced infrastructure, which the university said is necessary to meet global competition in science and engineering education and research.
The program: The nuclear engineering department is one of the largest departments in the nation and is home to 27 faculty members and more than 300 graduate and undergraduate students.
The nuclear reactor program houses the 1-MW PULSTAR reactor, which includes neutron probes and sources, antimatter beams, and advanced facilities for nondestructive testing including nuclear fuel and materials.