DOE funding for advanced nuclear technology R&D

19 June 2018

The US Department of Energy's (DOE's) Office of Nuclear Energy has awarded nearly USD64 million to 89 projects for nuclear energy research, facility access and crosscutting technology and infrastructure development. The funds will be provided to DOE national laboratories, industry and 39 US universities in 29 states.

"Nuclear is a vital part of our nation's energy portfolio" - Ed McGinnis (US DOE)

The awards provide funding for nuclear energy-related research through three DOE nuclear energy programmes: the Nuclear Energy University Program (NEUP), Nuclear Science User Facilities (NSUF), and Nuclear Energy Enabling Technology (NEET) Program.

The DOE is providing USD47 million through NEUP to support 63 US university-led nuclear energy R&D projects in 29 states. The projects, it said, will "maintain US leadership in nuclear research across the country by providing top science and engineering faculties and their students opportunities to develop innovative technologies and solutions for civil nuclear capabilities". A further USD5 million is being awarded under NEUP to support 18 university-led projects for research reactor and infrastructure improvements. "These projects will provide important safety, performance and educational upgrades to a portion of the nation's 25 university research reactors," DOE said.

Five R&D projects led by DOE national laboratories, industry and universities will receive USD5 million under the NEET programme. These projects involve research to address "crosscutting nuclear energy challenges that will help develop advanced sensors and instrumentation, advanced manufacturing methods, and materials for multiple nuclear reactor plant and fuel applications".

DOE has also selected one industry-led and two university-led projects to receive a total USD6.6 million under the NSUF programme to investigate nuclear fuel and material applications. This funding will be used for research, facility access costs, and expertise in: experimental neutron and ion irradiation testing, post-irradiation examination facilities, synchrotron beamline capabilities, and technical assistance for design and analysis of experiments.

Ed McGinnis, DOE's principal deputy assistant secretary for nuclear energy, said: "Because nuclear energy is such a vital part of our nation's energy portfolio, these investments are necessary to ensuring that future generations of Americans will continue to benefit from safe, clean, reliable and resilient nuclear energy. Our commitment to providing researchers with access to the fundamental infrastructure and capabilities needed to develop advanced nuclear technologies is critical."

Earlier this month, ten projects were selected to receive a total of up to USD24 million in funding under a new programme from the DOE's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) initiative. The projects selected include a transportable gas-cooled reactor, and technology to support load-following, improve safety and reduce costs in advanced reactors.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News