DOE Invests $61 Million in Advanced Nuclear Energy R&D Projects Across America

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 23, 2021)— The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced more than $61 million in funding awards for 99 advanced nuclear energy technology projects in 30 states and a U.S. territory. The projects, $58 million of which will go to U.S. universities, will focus on nuclear energy research, cross-discipline technology development, and nuclear reactor infrastructure to bolster the resiliency and use of America’s largest domestic source of carbon-free energy. It will also help to meet the Biden-Harris Administration’s ambitious goals of 100% clean electricity by 2035, and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.  

“Nuclear power is critical to America’s clean energy future and we are committed to making it a more accessible, affordable and resilient energy solution for communities across the country,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “At DOE we’re not only investing in the country’s current nuclear fleet, but we’re also investing in the scientists and engineers who are developing and deploying the next generation of advanced nuclear technologies that will slash the amount of carbon pollution, create good-paying energy jobs, and realize our carbon-free goals.” 

Nuclear power provides a fifth of America’s overall electricity and more than half of our zero-emissions energy, making it a key part of our clean energy future. To realize nuclear’s full potential, more research and development is needed to ensure the creation and operation of cost-effective nuclear power and to establish new methods for securely transporting, storing and disposing of spent nuclear fuel waste.   

The awards are managed through DOE’s nuclear energy programs—the Nuclear Energy University Program (NEUP), the Nuclear Energy Enabling Technologies (NEET), and the Nuclear Science User Facilities (NSUF). The selected awardees will:   

  • Enhance America’s Nuclear Energy Infrastructure and Increase the Safety of Nuclear Waste Storage—The work developed through NEUP awards supports a wide array of students and faculty across the nation who are conducting outstanding, cutting-edge research and strengthens university training structures. Through the NEUP awards, 69 university-led projects across 27 states will receive $48.8 million in DOE funding to develop innovative solutions for increasing the nation’s nuclear energy capabilities, including novel methods for isolating, immobilizing and storing nuclear waste. Additionally, 24 university-led projects will receive $5.9 million for research aimed at improving nuclear reactor infrastructure and providing crucial safety and performance upgrades to a portion of the nation’s 25 university research reactors.   
  • Improve Resiliency of Nuclear Reactor Facilities—Four projects awarded through NEET and NSUF—and separately housed at Iowa State University, North Carolina State University, GE Research and DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory—will develop advanced materials, manufacturing, and digital instrumentation technologies to support advanced nuclear reactors, and to investigate the application of nuclear fuel and materials. These projects will receive $3.2 million in funding, and will be supported by approximately $3.9 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.  

With these awards, DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy has now awarded more than $863 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.

Please visit the Office of Nuclear Energy’s website for information on all of DOE’s efforts to continue American leadership in low-carbon nuclear energy innovation.  

 

Source: US Department of Energy

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