DOE invests $66 million in advanced nuclear technologies

15 June 2017

The US Department of Energy (DOE) yesterday announced investments worth over $66 million in projects that will help advance innovative nuclear technologies. A total of 85 projects are to receive a share of the federal funding for nuclear energy research, facility access, crosscutting technology development and infrastructure awards.

The awards provide funding for nuclear energy-related research through the Nuclear Energy University Program (NEUP), Nuclear Science User Facilities (NSUF), and Nuclear Energy Enabling Technology (NEET) programs, and also provide nuclear technology developers with access to research capabilities and other assistance consistent with the goals and objectives of the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) initiative.

Over $31 million has been awarded to support 32 university-led nuclear energy research and development projects under the NEUP, which seeks to maintain US leadership in nuclear research. In addition, 19 universities will receive about $6 million for research reactor and infrastructure improvements.

Three integrated research projects are to receive a total of $11 million. These multi-million dollar, three-year projects are carried out by university-led consortia that typically include multiple universities, industrial and international research entities and the DOE's national laboratories, forming a mainstay of the DOE Office of Nuclear Energy's strategy to pursue R&D solutions most directly relevant to the near-term, significant needs of its programs.

Nearly $6 million is awarded to six R&D projects under the NEET program. Led by national laboratories, industry and US universities, these projects address "cross-cutting nuclear energy challenges" to help develop advanced sensors and instrumentation, manufacturing methods and materials for use in nuclear power plants and fuel.

The DOE has selected a total of 14 projects - five university-led, four national laboratory-led and five industry-led - to take advantage of NSUF capabilities to investigate nuclear fuel and material applications. Six of these projects receive a total of $2.3 million in research funds, while all 14 will be supported by over $10 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 the NSUF.

The five industry-led projects included in the list represent an acceleration of the GAIN  initiative, the DOE said. These are a General Atomics-led investigation into the performance of silicon carbide cladding and endplug joints, which receives $540,675, and projects led by Areva, Westinghouse Electric Company and two led by the Electric Power Research Institute, which have been awarded NSUF access only.

Ed McGinnis, the DOE's acting assistant secretary for nuclear energy, said investing in nuclear energy was an "important strategic priority" for the department. "Nuclear energy technologies contribute to our economy, our environment, and our national security, and I look forward to seeing these projects add to those contributions in the years ahead," he said.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News