Office of Nuclear Energy

Secretary Chu Announces Nuclear Energy University Program Awards

June 16, 2009

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U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced nearly $9 million in awards to support the next generation of American nuclear energy development. Under the Nuclear Energy University Program (NEUP), the Department of Energy will provide $2.9 million in scholarships and fellowships to 86 U.S. nuclear science and engineering (NS&E) students, and will offer more than $6 million in grants to 29 U.S. universities and colleges in 23 states.

NEUP supports the country’s nuclear energy research infrastructure at schools across the country, while attracting high-quality undergraduate and graduate students into nuclear science and engineering disciplines. Infrastructure investments designed to enhance colleges’ nuclear energy research and development (R&D) capacity will include grants for new equipment and instrumentation for research reactors, specialized nuclear energy facilities, and classrooms and laboratories.

“America’s leadership in nuclear energy research will be critical in addressing the country’s long-term energy independence and climate change goals. We need to ensure that the next generation of nuclear scientists and engineers have the training they need to research, design, build, operate, and maintain U.S. nuclear power plants,” said Secretary Steven Chu. “Investing in these students’ educations and the necessary infrastructure and equipment at their universities will help keep the United States at the research forefront for this important zero-carbon energy source.”

According to the Nuclear Energy Institute, about half of the nuclear industry’s workforce will be eligible to retire during the next 10 years. The scholarships and fellowships under the NEUP program will help make sure we are training nuclear scientists and engineers to replace these workers and maintain America’s role as a leader in the nuclear energy research.

The NS&E infrastructure awards will support university and college efforts to build or expand the school’s NS&E basic research or education capabilities and enhance the university or college's capacity to perform R&D that helps meet the Department’s long-term energy consumption goals.

The Department is awarding 70 scholarships to U.S. undergraduate students and 16 fellowships to U.S. graduate students. Each scholarship student will receive $5,000 to provide the cost of his or her education for the next year.  Fellowship recipients will receive $50,000 a year over three years to help pay for their graduate studies and research.  Students are expected to receive their award funds by September 30, 2009.

Four-year and two-year accredited universities or colleges including community colleges and trade schools were eligible to apply for an infrastructure grant. Award amounts for each project are subject to negotiation but range between about $100,000 and $300,000. Awards are limited to one per university or college and are expected to be completed by September 30, 2009.

See below for a list of infrastructure award projects and the student distribution for scholarships and fellowships.

Nuclear Energy University Program

FY09 University Selection for Infrastructure Awards
University Equipment and/or Purpose
Arizona State University Electron microscopy and material handling equipment upgrades for 3-D characterization of microstructure in surrogate fuel materials with depleted uranium
Boise State University Ion slicer for transmission electron microscopy sample preparation of nuclear materials
City College of New York Enhancement of the capability of reactor thermal-hydraulics and Safety Research Laboratory
Idaho State University Infrastructure support for analytical and health physics laboratory instrumentation
Kansas State University Reactor backup power supply, neutron survey meter, replacement control rod, and dosimetry equipment
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Core loop H2/O2, laser flash thermal diffusivity instrument, video camera, and viscometer
Monmouth College Enhancement of nuclear science education through purchase of new sources and detectors for nuclear physics courses
North Carolina State University Intense pulsed neutron source and gamma monitoring system to be integrated into the Reactor User Facility
Oregon State University Raman spectrometer, microscope, neutron imaging system, and neutron depth profiling system to provide improved analysis capability
Pennsylvania State University Neutron detectors, computers for student lab enhancements.  Detectors, software, and pneumatic sample transfer system for radionuclear laboratory enhancements
Purdue University Laser, filters, spectrograph, gas cell, ion source, and sputter station
Rennesslaer Electronic equipment to support neutron measurements, gamma spectroscopy, and dosimetry in teaching and research laboratories
Rhode Island Nuclear Science Center (RINSC) Equipment to support a new counting classroom and remodeling the RINSC’s control room
South Carolina State University High-purity germanium detector and a multi-channel analyzer to complete development of an advanced undergraduate radiochemistry laboratory
Texas Engineering Experiment Station, Texas A&M University Flow visualization laboratory to promote research in advanced reactor designs
University of Alabama X-ray diffractometer, glovebox, and computer equipment to provide infrastructure for solid state, solution, and theoretical actinide chemistry for the “Introduction into Radiochemistry” Curriculum
University of California, Berkeley Nuclear physics instrumentation and radiation detection equipment for nuclear physics and reactor safety teaching and research
University of California, Irvine Counting equipment, centrifugal contactor, and a particle size analyzer to develop the education and research and development programs
University of Colorado, Boulder Differential scanning calorimeter and thermogravimetric analyzer to perform nuclear science materials research
University of Florida Establish a fully digital control system for University of Florida training reactor
University of Idaho Establish medium-to-higher temperature material characterization capability
University of Maryland Ultraviolet-visible spectrophotometer, gamma system, and a neutron generator to expand and enhance nuclear laboratories
University of Michigan Alpha/beta/gamma/neutron counting and spectroscopy equipment for use at Advanced Test Reactor User Facility to enhance its teaching and research capabilities
University of Nevada, Las Vegas Physical property measurement system and system upgrade for D8 advance x-ray diffraction for nuclear energy fuels research
University of Nevada, Reno Establish friction stir welding/processing facility
University of New Mexico Electronics and counting equipment for teaching laboratory
University of Texas, Austin Two gamma spectroscopy systems to expand research and teaching capabilities
University of Wisconsin, Madison Scanning electron microscope and neutron imaging equipment to facilitate research
Utah State University Transient mixed convection tunnel, particle image velocimetry camera, and heater plate models to support transient mixed convection facility
FY09 Scholarship and Fellowship Awards – by University
Scholarship Selection

($5,000 each award for 1 year)

University No.
Georgia Institute of Technology 2
Idaho State University 5
Kansas State University 1
North Carolina State University 8
Ohio State University 7
Oregon State University 3
Pennsylvania State University 1
Purdue University 3
Rensselaer 1
Texas A&M University 3
University of California Berkeley 1
University of Florida 2
University of Idaho 4
University of Illinois 8
University of Massachusetts Lowell 1
University of Michigan 13
University of South Carolina 2
University of Tennessee 2
University of Wisconsin 2
Virginia Technical College 1


Fellowship Selection

($150,000 each award for 3 years)

University No.
Colorado School of Mines 1
Georgia Institute of Technology 1
Idaho State University 1
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 2
Ohio State University 2
Pennsylvania State University 1
Purdue University 1
University of Illinois 1
University of Michigan 2
University of Pittsburg 1
University of Tennessee 1
University of Wisconsin 2