IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK)-The U.S. Department of Energy has announced more than $65 million in nuclear energy research funding will target 93 advanced nuclear technology projects in 28 states.
Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette announced the commitment as part of a scheduled visit to Idaho Falls and the Idaho National Laboratory Thursday.
The awards fall under DOE’s Nuclear Energy University Program (NEUP) the Nucvlear 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 Brouillette. “The Trump Administration recognizes the importance of nuclear energy, and through these 93 projects spread across 28 different states, we remain wholly committed to revitalizing our most reliable form of energy.”
Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy Dr. Rita Baranwal said the department is committed to ensuring that researchers have cutting edge infrastructure and lab capabilities to develop advanced technologies.
“Investments in programs like these help strengthen American leadership in nuclear innovation by supporting the development of the next generation of talent,” said Baranwal
DOE outlined the scope of the research in a news release Thursday:
DOE is awarding more than $38.6 million through NEUP to support 57 university-led nuclear energy research and development projects in 24 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, 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.
Nuclear Energy Enabling Technologies (NEET) Crosscutting Research Projects ($5M)
Five research and development projects led by DOE National Laboratories and U.S. universities 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.
DOE has selected one industry, three DOE National Laboratory, and three university-led projects that will take advantage of NSUF capabilities to investigate important nuclear fuel and material 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 American leadership in clean energy innovation and to train the next generation of nuclear engineers and scientists through its competitive opportunities since 2009.