NN Asks: How are universities approaching nuclear workforce issues?

August 29, 2023, 7:01AMNuclear NewsJohn Mobley IV

John Mobley IV

With the release of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pathways to Commercial Liftoff: Advanced Nuclear report this past March, there have been considerable discussions as to the multifaceted roles and responsibilities of universities in this epoch of renewed interest in nuclear energy. In particular, the imperative of securing an estimated 375,000 additional individuals for the construction and operation of 200 gigawatts of advanced nuclear reactors by 2050 is a significant endeavor that is front of mind for educational practitioners and policymakers. An understanding that the challenges in meeting the projected workforce needs of the nuclear community rely on dynamic, responsive, and innovative solutions thus is contingent on enhanced recruitment, retention, and development. To this point, a threefold approach of (1) IDEA (inclusion, diversity, equity, accessibility) initiatives, (2) AGI (academia-government-industry) partnerships, and (3) gap analysis offers a promising avenue for addressing these issues.

DOE-NE invests more than $6 million in university nuclear research infrastructure

June 26, 2023, 7:00AMNuclear News

The Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy on June 21 announced just over $6.3 million in funding for 18 projects at 15 universities in 14 states. The funding builds up scientific infrastructure and upgrades research reactors at universities to expand the nation’s scientific capabilities and train the next generation of nuclear energy scientists and engineers.

DOE awards $56 million for nuclear energy  R&D at universities and national labs

June 19, 2023, 3:02PMNuclear News

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.

DOE’s NEUP advances research into the sociotechnical realm

December 21, 2022, 12:01PMNuclear News

For the first time ever, the Department of Energy’s Nuclear Energy University Program (NEUP) is funding research that looks at sociotechnical issues regarding the siting of nuclear power plants and spent nuclear fuel storage facilities. A number of questions at the intersection of social and nuclear concerns are being examined. How does the siting of nuclear power plants affect traditionally disadvantaged communities? How can communities have a greater voice in nuclear facility siting and development decisions? What are the livability needs for small communities experiencing an influx of engineers during the development process? At what points throughout the design and development process should decision makers incorporate social and environmental justice considerations?

Universities get $61 million for 74 nuclear research and infrastructure awards

June 20, 2022, 12:04PMNuclear News

Advanced reactor coolants, consent-based siting, and offshore nuclear production of hydrogen are just a few of the topics included among the 74 nuclear science and technology projects awarded more than $61 million by the Department of Energy on June 17. The Nuclear Energy University Program awards, Integrated Research Projects, Nuclear Science User Facilities awards, and Infrastructure awards will support nuclear technology development, infrastructure improvements, and career opportunities at more than 40 U.S. universities in 29 states.

DOE seeks input on FY 2023 funding opportunity announcement for university research

May 2, 2022, 7:09AMNuclear News

The Department of Energy's Office of Nuclear Energy has issued a request for information regarding the funding of university research for fiscal year 2023. The RFI, issued on April 20, is seeking input from the nuclear energy community, including technical and community colleges, historically black colleges and universities, and other minority-serving institutions, on its competitive Research and Development Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for universities.

University-based nuclear R&D gets $61 million in DOE funding

June 24, 2021, 7:00AMNuclear News

More than $61 million in funding has been released for advanced nuclear energy technology projects in 30 states and in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, the Department of Energy announced on June 22. Of that total, $58 million is going to U.S. universities for nuclear energy research, cross-discipline technology development, and research reactor infrastructure.

$5 million awarded to next generation of nuclear scientists, engineers

April 14, 2021, 7:01AMNuclear News

The Department of Energy on April 9 announced more than $5 million in scholarships and fellowships for students pursuing degrees in nuclear energy and engineering in the United States. Included in the funding are 50 undergraduate scholarships and 31 graduate fellowships for students at 36 colleges and universities in 23 states—from Boise State to Virginia Tech. (The full list of schools is available online.)

John Gilligan: NEUP in support of university nuclear R&D

December 30, 2020, 7:07AMNuclear NewsRick Michal

John Gilligan has been the director of the Nuclear Energy University Program (NEUP) since its creation in 2009 by the Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy (DOE-NE). NEUP consolidates DOE-NE’s university support under one program and engages colleges and universities in the United States to conduct research and development in nuclear technology. The two main R&D areas for NEUP funding are fuel cycle projects, which include evolving sustainable technologies that improve energy generation to enhance safety, limit proliferation risk, and reduce waste generation and resource consumption; and reactor projects, which strive to preserve the existing commercial light-water reactors as well as improve emerging advanced designs, such as small modular reactors, liquid-metal-cooled fast reactors, and gas- or liquid-salt-cooled high-temperature reactors.

DOE awards research grants to early career scientists

June 29, 2020, 9:32AMNuclear News

The Department of Energy on June 23 announced the selection of 76 scientists from across the United States—26 from the DOE’s national laboratories and 50 from U.S. universities—to receive significant funding for research as part of the DOE Office of Science’s Early Career Research Program. The effort, now in its 11th year, is designed to bolster the nation’s scientific workforce by providing support to exceptional researchers during the crucial early career years, when many scientists do their most formative work.