Research will focus on advanced nuclear reactor materials

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced the selection of Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) to lead a $9.25 million collaborative project in nuclear energy research through the Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computing (SciDAC) program. SciDAC brings together experts in science and energy research with those in software development, applied mathematics, and computer science to take full advantage of high-performance computing resources. This project will advance modeling the behavior and properties of structure materials under molten salt conditions.

“The U.S. needs projects like this one to advance nuclear technologies and help us achieve the Biden-Harris administration’s goals of clean energy by 2035 and a net-zero economy by 2050,” said Asmeret Asefaw Berhe, Director of the Office of Science. “These collaborations bring together cutting-edge scientific techniques with real world applications and enable the deployment of new reactor designs in timeframes not otherwise possible.”

“This program powerfully brings together experts from basic and applied sciences with multiple world-class research facilities to enable discovery,” said Kathryn Huff, Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy. “These partnerships promise to advance our understanding of material phenomena essential to designing and demonstrating safe and efficient advanced nuclear reactors.”

The project aims to understand and anticipate the couplings between corrosion and irradiation effects at the atomistic scale in a variety of metals exposed to molten salt in a reactor. Then, researchers can connect those effects to engineering-scale material performance to inform design decisions and safety analyses. The team comprised of experts from LANL, Idaho National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, and Carnegie Mellon University will lead the five-year partnership.

Competitive peer review selected this project under the DOE Funding Opportunity Announcement DE-FOA-0002592 “Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computing (SCIDAC): Partnership in Nuclear Energy.”

Total funding is $9.25 million for up to five years, with $1.85 million in Fiscal Year 2022 dollars and outyear funding contingent on congressional appropriations.