US Department of Energy Selects U.S. Universities for $30.7 Million in Nuclear Research Grants


WASHINGTON, DC ”“ The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced the selection of 11 U.S. university-led grant recipient teams for cooperative research projects under DOE’s Nuclear Energy Research Initiative (NERI) for up to $30.7 million over three years (FY’07-’09). NERI is a DOE initiative focused on developing advanced nuclear energy systems and providing state-of-the-art research concerning nuclear science and technology. These grants further engage U.S. university professors and their students in advanced nuclear fuel cycle research and development (R&D), supporting President Bush’s Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) and his American Competitiveness Initiative.

"These awards will strengthen DOE’s commitment to expanding the vital role America’s universities play in supporting the advancement and expansion of nuclear power,” Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy Dennis Spurgeon said. “Developing stronger research partnerships with our educational institutions is a priority for developing environmentally responsible, reliable, and safe nuclear power to serve the United States’ future energy needs."

Selected projects include 38 U.S. universities in 22 states, two of which are Historically Black Universities: Alabama A&M University and South Carolina State University. Research consortia will help advance the President’s American Competitiveness Initiative (ACI) by broadening the nation’s nuclear research base. The ACI supports investments in the next generation of scientists, engineers and educators so America remains at the forefront of science and innovation.

Funding for these projects is expected to begin this fiscal year ($10.3 million) and continue through FY’09, subject to negotiations and appropriations from Congress. These grants are expected to be executed by the end of this fiscal year. In total this fiscal year, the Department will provide approximately $55 million to U.S. universities in support of nuclear energy programs and R&D. This includes the FY’07-portion of today’s announcement ($10.3 million); $3.8 million in GNEP Readiness awards announced earlier this month; $13 million to fund individual researcher awards through NERI; $16.5 million for programs conducted under the University Reactor Infrastructure and Education Assistance Program; and $11.5 million for university R&D.

GNEP seeks to close the nuclear fuel cycle by reducing proliferation risks, reducing waste and further increasing energy security around the world. In support of GNEP, today’s announcement also furthers DOE’s Generation IV Nuclear Energy Initiative, the Nuclear Hydrogen Initiative, and the Advanced Fuel Cycle Initiative (AFCI). The Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems Initiative aims to further advance nuclear energy system designs and broaden the opportunities for the use of nuclear power. The Nuclear Hydrogen Initiative seeks to demonstrate the economic, commercial-scale production of hydrogen using nuclear energy. If successful, this research could lead to a large-scale, emission-free, domestic hydrogen production capability to fuel a hydrogen economy. AFCI goals include reducing the long-term radiological impact of waste; enabling development of a simpler, cheaper repository; reducing proliferation risk and improving long-term prospects for nuclear power.


Read additional information on these initiatives and selections on the Office of Nuclear Energy website.