Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Energy today announced that $17 million in research grants will be awarded to 23 university-led teams aimed at strengthening the robust research and development capabilities of American universities and colleges to develop the next generation of nuclear energy technologies and upgrade research reactors across the country. Supported through the Department’s Nuclear Energy University Programs (NEUP), DOE is taking action to restart the U.S. nuclear industry as part of a broad approach to create new clean energy jobs and cut carbon pollution.

The 23 awards announced today build upon the Obama Administration’s efforts to enhance U.S. leadership in the global nuclear energy industry and ensure that nuclear power is a part of our clean energy portfolio. Through programs like NEUP, the Department is helping develop cutting-edge nuclear energy technologies,  and training and educating the next generation of leaders in the U.S. nuclear industry.

“These projects are critical to research aimed at advancing our domestic nuclear industry and maintaining global leadership in the field,” said U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu. “Through these investments we are also training and educating the next generation of leaders in the U.S. nuclear industry to help build a strong new energy economy.”

The projects selected for negotiation of award cover two nuclear energy research fields: Integrated Research Projects and University Research Infrastructure Improvements.

Integrated Research Projects - $12 million

Developing a new generation of highly efficient reactors and new methods to store used fuel are two key issues that DOE is tackling under this research field. The Department is engaging universities in the effort to find solutions through NEUP's new Integrated Research Projects (IRP).

Funded over three-years, IRPs are large, multi-year projects led by teams of U.S. universities working to develop cross-cutting breakthroughs across the U.S. nuclear energy industry. The goal of IRPs is to engage the university community on larger research projects designed to benefit from the involvement of multiple universities, as well as industry, utility and national laboratory partners.

University Research Infrastructure Improvements - $5.7 million

DOE recognizes that in order for universities to conduct cutting-edge research and educate the next generation of nuclear scientists and engineers, they need the best equipment and infrastructure possible.  The Department funds three types of infrastructure grants through NEUP – general equipment and infrastructure; minor reactor upgrades; and major reactor upgrades.

The maximum amount awarded for a general equipment award is $300,000. Individual universities can received up to $1.5 million for a major research reactor upgrade and up to $200,000 for a minor upgrade. 

For the full list of projects selected for award and for detailed project descriptions click here.

For  additional information about NEUP visit the Nuclear Energy University Programs website.

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