WASHINGTON, D.C. –Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced nearly $67 million in nuclear energy research, facility access, crosscutting technology development, and infrastructure awards in 28 states. In total, 85 projects were selected to receive funding that will help advance innovative nuclear technologies. This research is important to the United States because it sows the seeds for safer, more efficient, clean baseload energy that supports the U.S. economy and energy independence.
These awards provide funding for nuclear energy-related research through the Nuclear Energy University Program, Nuclear Science User Facilities, and Nuclear Energy Enabling Technologies programs. In addition, a number of nuclear technology developers will receive access to unique research capabilities and other assistance consistent with the goals and objectives of the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) initiative.
“Investing in the future of nuclear energy is an important strategic priority for the Energy Department,” said Ed McGinnis, DOE’s Acting Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy. “Nuclear energy technologies contribute to our economy, our environment, and our national security, and I look forward to seeing these projects add to those contributions in the years ahead.”
Nuclear Energy University Program
DOE is awarding over $31 million through its Nuclear Energy University Program (NEUP) to support 32 university-led nuclear energy research and development projects in 23 states. NEUP seeks to maintain U.S. leadership in nuclear research across the country by providing top science and engineering faculty and their students with opportunities to develop innovative technologies and solutions for civil nuclear capabilities.
Additionally, 19 universities will receive approximately $6 million for research reactor and infrastructure improvements providing important safety, performance, and student education-related upgrades to a portion of the nation’s 25 university research reactors as well as enhancing university research and training infrastructure.
Integrated Research Projects
The Department is awarding $11 million for three Integrated Research Projects (IRPs), which address well-defined but highly complex technical issues impacting key NE mission objectives. IRPs are multi-million, three-year projects executed by university-led consortiums that typically include multiple universities, industrial and international research entities, and the unique resources of the DOE national laboratories. IRPs comprise a significant element of DOE’s innovative nuclear research objectives and illustrate the Office of Nuclear Energy’s (NE) strategy to pursue R&D solutions most directly relevant to the near-term, significant needs of the NE R&D programs.
Crosscutting Research Projects
Additionally, nearly $6 million will be awarded for six research and development projects led by Department of Energy national laboratories, industry, and U.S. universities. Together, they will conduct research to address crosscutting nuclear energy challenges that will help to develop advanced sensors and instrumentation, advanced manufacturing methods, and materials for multiple nuclear reactor plant and fuel applications.
Nuclear Science User Facilities – Public Private Partnerships
Lastly, DOE has selected five university, four national laboratory, and five industry-led projects that will take advantage of NSUF capabilities to investigate important nuclear fuel and material applications. DOE will support 6 of these projects with a total of $2.3 million in research funds, and all 14 of these projects will be supported by over $10 million in facility access costs and expertise for experimental neutron and ion irradiation testing, post-irradiation examination facilities, synchrotron beamline capabilities, and technical assistance for design and analysis of experiments through the NSUF.
By supporting the five industry-led projects, DOE is accelerating its implementation of the GAIN initiative by providing these nuclear technology developers with access to world-class neutron and gamma irradiation and post-irradiation examination services. The GAIN initiative provides the nuclear community with a single point of access to the broad range of capabilities, people, facilities, materials, and data across the DOE complex and its National Laboratory capabilities. Visit here for details.
Since 2009, the Energy Department’s Office of Nuclear Energy has awarded approximately $472 million to 103 U.S. colleges and universities to continue American leadership in energy innovation and to train the next generation of nuclear engineers and scientists through its university programs. Visit neup.gov for more information on today’s awards and Energy.gov for information on all of the Energy Department’s efforts to continue American leadership in nuclear energy innovation.