The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) said Tuesday that more than $65 million in nuclear energy research awards geared mostly toward university-led projects taking place in 28 different states.
The awards fall under three categorical funding lines within the department. The programs include the Nuclear Energy University Program (NEUP), the Nuclear Energy Enabling Technologies (NEET), and the Nuclear Science User Facilities (NSUF).
“Advancing the next generation of nuclear energy is paramount to ensuring reliable, clean electricity for the American people. If we are serious about making substantial progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, then emissions-free nuclear energy must be a part of that conversation,” said Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette, who called nuclear energy "our most reliable form of energy."
“Investments in programs like these help strengthen American leadership in nuclear innovation by supporting the development of the next generation of talent,” said Dr. Rita Baranwal, Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy. “DOE is committed to ensuring that researchers have access to cutting-edge infrastructure and lab capabilities to develop advanced nuclear technologies.”
The DOE awarded the Nuclear Energy University Program (NEUP) more than $38.6 million to support 57 university-led nuclear energy research and development projects in 24 states.
Additionally, 21 university-led projects will receive more than $5.7 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.
The Department is also awarding $10.8 million for three Integrated Research Projects (IRPs), which address well-defined but highly complex technical issues impacting key Office of Nuclear Energy (NE) mission objectives. IRPs are multi-million dollar, 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 NE’s strategy to pursue R&D solutions most directly relevant to the near-term, significant needs of the NE R&D programs.
Five additional research and development projects led by the country's national laboratories partnered with university research will receive $5 million in funding. Together, they will conduct research to address crosscutting nuclear energy challenges that will help to develop advanced sensors and instrumentation and advanced manufacturing methods for multiple nuclear reactor plant and fuel applications.
Another $5 million is being awarded to the Nuclear Science User Facilities program, which has chosen one industry, three national laboratories and three university projects geared towards investigations of nuclear fuel and materials applications. DOE will support two of these projects with a total of $1 million in research funds. All seven of these projects will be supported by more than $2.4 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 NSUF. In addition, one of the abovementioned NEUP R&D projects will be supported with $1.6 million in NSUF access funds.
With these awards, DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy has now awarded more than $800 million to continue nuclear research and nurture new scientists to the field of nuclear energy.
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