Department of Energy

Energy Department Awards $40 Million for Research to Support Waste Cleanup at DOE Nuclear Sites

July 18, 2016

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz today announced up to $40 million in awards for four new Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs) to accelerate the scientific breakthroughs needed to support the Department of Energy (DOE)’s environmental management and nuclear cleanup mission. The four centers will be led respectively by Florida State University, Ohio State University, the University of South Carolina and DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. 

The new EFRCs will conduct basic research aimed at assisting with the cleanup of hazardous waste that resulted from decades of nuclear weapons research and production during the 20th century—a core mission of the DOE and will take decades more for completion.  The goal is to achieve fundamental advances in science to enable safe, efficient, and cost-effective waste cleanup and storage technologies.  The new EFRCs are funded by DOE’s Office of Science and are designed to support the work of DOE’s Office of Environmental Management, which is responsible for the Department’s cleanup mission.   

“The four new EFRCs announced today lay the foundation for continuing success in our environmental cleanup efforts, which depend upon advances in innovative science and research technologies,” said Secretary Moniz.  “As one of America’s most successful use-inspired basic research initiatives, the EFRC program can be counted on to further discoveries that will greatly enhance cleanup efforts and accomplish one of DOE’s core missions.”

The new centers were competitively selected based on a comprehensive merit review process with awards ranging from $2 million to $4 million per year for each center for up to four fiscal years. The awards are subject to available appropriations and the outcome of a formal progress review in the second year of the four year period of performance. 

Since the establishment of the EFRC program by the Department’s Office of Science in 2009, the Energy Frontier Research Centers have produced over 7,500 peer-reviewed scientific publications and have helped lay the scientific groundwork for fundamental advances in solar energy, electrical energy storage, carbon capture and sequestration, materials and chemistry by design, biosciences, and materials in extreme environments. 

EFRC research has also has benefited a number of large and small companies, including start-up firms, and generated hundreds of inventions at various stages of the patent process. Each of the new centers is a multi-institutional team and includes several university and/or national laboratory partners in addition to the lead institution. 

Additional information about the EFRCs can be found HERE.