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Idaho State University will receive three grants totaling $2.5 million from Department of Energy’s Nuclear Energy University Program

May 20, 2010
ISU Marketing and Communications

Idaho State University has been notified that it will receive three grants totaling $2.5 million from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Nuclear Energy University Program that will help advance nuclear education and develop the next generation of nuclear technologies.

"This is great news for Idaho State University. Our faculty are creating solutions to the nation's major energy challenges. In receiving these awards, ISU is in the company of great research universities," said Pamela Crowell, ISU vice president for research.

The Idaho State University grants were three of 42 university-led research and development projects totaling $38 million announced by U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu on Thursday, May 20. The grants were awarded to 23 universities in 17 states. Other universities, industries and national laboratories, including the Idaho National Laboratory, will serve as collaborators and research partners.  The projects focus on four nuclear energy research areas.

"We are taking action to restart the nuclear industry as part of a broad approach to cut carbon pollution and create new clean energy jobs," said Secretary Chu. "These projects will help us develop the nuclear technologies of the future and move our domestic nuclear industry forward."

The three Idaho State University projects funded are:

• $650,000 for a Fuel Cycle Research and Development Project titled "Fuel Performance Experiments on the Atomistic Level, Studying Fuel through Engineering Single Crystal UO2." The Idaho State University principal investigators on this project are George Imel and Eric Burgett, who are collaborating with Christopher Summers from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Simon Phillpot from the University of Florida, and Alan Hunt from ISU.

The goal of this research area is to research and demonstrate technologies that will enable the safe and cost-effective management of the used fuel produced by the current and future nuclear fuel cycle in a manner that reduces proliferation risk. The research conducted in the program is focused on developing novel technology options that will improve used fuel storage, recycling and disposal options, with performance in cost and environmental consequences significantly improved from current technology performance. 

$1,287,921 for a Generation IV Reactor Research and Development Project titled "Studies of Deteriorated Heat Transfer in Prismatic Cores Stemming from Irradiationinduced Geometry Distortion." Idaho State University’s principal investigator is Brian Williams, who is collaborating with Richard Schultz and Donald McEligot from the Idaho National Laboratory.

The goal of this research area is to research and develop the next generation of nuclear reactors that will produce more energy and create less waste.  The focus is developing new reactor technologies with higher safety, economic and sustainability performance.

• $597,252 for a Mission-Relevant Investigator-Initiated Research Project titled "Development and Testing of an OpenLoop Oscillator for Small Reactivity Worth Samples." Idaho State University’s principal investigator is George Imel, who will be collaborating with Gilles Youinou from the Idaho National Laboratory, and Eric Burgett and Jason Harris at ISU.

This research area focuses on creative, innovative, and "blue sky" research. This area includes research in the fields or disciplines of nuclear science and engineering such as, but not limited to, nuclear engineering, nuclear physics, health physics, nuclear materials science, radiochemistry or nuclear chemistry. Examples of topics of interest are new reactor designs and technologies; advanced fuel cycles, including advanced nuclear fuels; alternate aqueous and dry processes, including volatility and ionic liquids; instrumentation and control/human factors; radiochemistry; and fundamental nuclear science. 

Additional information on the Nuclear Energy University Program is available at A list of nationally selected projects can be found at the website


About Idaho State University

Idaho State University, a Carnegie-classified doctoral research institution founded in 1901, educates approximately 15,000 students per year in more than 280 programs. It is Idaho’s lead institution in health professions and medical education. Its seven colleges engage in a broad range of innovative research, teaching, and learning in the natural and physical sciences, humanities, performing and visual arts, education, engineering, business, pharmacy, and technology. Visit ISU today at




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