Energy Department Announces New Investments in University-Led Nuclear Energy Innovation

Press Release

By:  Steven Chu
Date: Sept. 27, 2012
Location: Washington, DC

As part of the Obama Administration's all-of-the-above energy strategy to deploy every available source of American energy and ensure the U.S. remains competitive globally, the Energy Department announced today more than $13 million in new investments for university-led nuclear innovation projects. The three awards announced today under the Department's Nuclear Energy University Programs (NEUP) will support nuclear energy R&D and student investment at U.S. colleges and universities across the country, ensuring that secure, safe and efficient nuclear energy is part of the U.S. energy portfolio.

"As part of our commitment to restarting America's nuclear industry and making sure that America stays competitive in the 21st century, we must invest in the next generation of American scientists and engineers," said Secretary Chu. "The awards announced today will help train and educate our future energy leaders, while developing the innovations we need to create new jobs and export opportunities for American-made nuclear technologies."

The NEUP awards announced today support complex projects that will develop cross-cutting breakthroughs for the U.S. nuclear energy industry. Led by universities working in collaboration with the nuclear industry, national laboratories and international partners, these three-year research projects seek to bolster the performance of nuclear systems and develop next generation light water reactor concepts and new fuel forms.

At the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia, researchers will develop a high-power light water reactor with inherent safety features that go beyond the capabilities of advanced passive systems. Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will use computational and experimental models to test the performance of new, corrosion-resistant cladding, providing a holistic evaluation of how these technologies will function in a working light water reactor. Additionally, a team from Knoxville, Tennessee-based University of Tennessee will develop an advanced ceramic coating for fuel cladding technologies that aims to improve the performance of traditional cladding by decreasing oxidation and corrosion. More detail on each of the R&D projects, including a list of project collaborators is available HERE.

The awards announced today build upon the Obama Administration's broader efforts to promote a sustainable nuclear industry in the U.S. and cultivate the next generation of scientists and engineers. Through NEUP, the Energy Department has invested over $233 million in the last four years for 224 R&D projects, in addition to infrastructure and student investments at 81 schools in 34 states and the District of Columbia.

For more information on the Nuclear Energy University Programs visit www.neup.gov.