ISU Headlines

Idaho State University receives $2.1 million for two grants from U.S. Department of Energy’s Nuclear Energy University Program

Posted May 8, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the selection of 71 university research project awards – including two awards totaling more than $2.1 million to Idaho State University – as part of the Department of Energy’s investments in cutting-edge nuclear energy research and development (R&D).

Under the Nuclear Energy University Program (NEUP), these 71 projects will receive approximately $44 million over three years to advance new nuclear technologies in support of the nation’s energy goals.  By helping to develop the next generation of advanced nuclear technologies, the Nuclear Energy University Program will play a key role in addressing the global climate crisis and moving the nation toward greater use of nuclear energy, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

The two Idaho State University awards are:

• $1,497, 500 for “Advanced Elastic/Inelastic Nuclear Data Development Project.” Douglas Wells, director of the ISU Idaho Accelerator Center, is the grant’s principal investigator. “We are very pleased to receive this competitive award,” Wells said. “ISU is the lead institution on this seven-institution, $1.5 million project. Much of the credit for our success attracting competitive awards can be traced to the Idaho delegations' efforts to build up ISU capabilities and position us for success.”

• $681,205 for “Removal of 14C from Irradiated Graphite for Graphite Recycle and Waste Volume Reduction.” Mary Lou Dunzik-Gougar, ISU assistant professor of nuclear engineering at the Institute of Nuclear Science and Engineering, is the grant’s principal investigator. “Because of the nature of the work, which supports the development of the next generation of nuclear power, I am very excited,” Dunzik-Gougar said. “This research could enable much easier, cheaper and safer disposal of (irradiated) graphite waste, or, even better, allow the recycling of the graphite material.” Her research will take place largely at the Idaho National Laboratory and the new Center for Advanced Energy Studies in Idaho Falls.

“As a zero-carbon energy source, nuclear power must be part of our energy mix as we work toward energy independence and meeting the challenge of global warming,” said Secretary Chu.  “The next generation of nuclear power plants – with the highest standards of safety, efficiency and environmental protection – will require the latest advancements in nuclear science and technology.  These research and development university awards will ensure that the United States continues to lead the world in the nuclear field for years to come.”

Selected R&D projects include 31 U.S. universities that will act as lead research institutions for projects in more than 20 states.  Other universities, industries and national laboratories will serve as collaborators and research partners.  Under the Nuclear Energy University Program, DOE will support projects in the following nuclear energy research fields: the Advanced Fuel Cycle Initiative (AFCI), the Next Generation Nuclear Plant (NGNP) also known as Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems, Investigator-Initiated Research (IIR), and Light Water Reactor Sustainability (LWRS).

In keeping with the Obama Administration’s commitment to training the next generation of American scientists, Secretary Chu also announced that DOE is accepting applications for individual nuclear science and engineering scholarships and fellowships under the Nuclear Energy University Program.  As part of the Department’s efforts to recruit and train the next generation of nuclear scientists and engineers, DOE is offering approximately $2.9 million in university fellowships and scholarships to support students entering the nuclear science and engineering fields.  Further details on the Request for Applications are available at: www.caesenergy.org.

Contracts for the R&D projects are expected to be awarded by Sept. 30 by the Battelle Energy Alliance, LLC (BEA), a Management and Operating contractor for DOE at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL).

More information about the 71 research and development awards is available on the U.S. Department of Energy Web site http://www.energy.gov/news2009/7383.htm.