Infrastructure Award Recipients Announced

The Department of Energy is awarding approximately $5 million to 15 colleges and universities to support research reactor infrastructure improvements, ensuring that American universities have the best equipment and tools available to educate the next generation of industry leaders and strengthen U.S. competitiveness in nuclear R&D. These awards will upgrade the existing fleet of research reactors and support equipment and infrastructure improvements, making these reactors more efficient and in line with industry advances.

A full list of infrastructure recipients is available below.


FY 2013 Nuclear Energy University Programs Infrastructure Awards


Lead University


Funding Amount

Project Description

Major Reactor Upgrades
New Core-Moderator Assembly and Neutron Beam Ports Development and Installation at the Radiation Science and Engineering Center

Pennsylvania State University

$1,362,253 Pennsylvania State University will build and install new capabilities including five neutron beam ports, a core-moderator assembly, reactor core upper and lower grid plates, safety plates, and a new reactor tower structure. The new beam ports will be geometrically aligned with the core-moderator assembly for optimal neutron output at experimental positions.
Nuclear Science Center Reactor Upgrades Texas A&M University $963,000 Texas A&M University will implement vital upgrades to its heat exchanger, facility air monitors, demineralizer system, and area radiation monitors, including upgrades to several pieces of equipment increasing the availability and maintaining critical systems used in its training, education, and research missions.
 Major Infrastructure Total   $2,325,253    
Minor Reactor Upgrades
Nuclear Reactor Teaching Laboratory Upgrades for the Colorado School of Mines Colorado School of Mines $38,528 Colorado School of Mines will reconfigure its control room to allow better student access to the reactor console. The new configuration will allow more students to directly view the reactor console. A two-way audio/video link between the control room, the counting room, and the classroom will also be added allowing for a broadcast to the classroom of reactor activities.
Reactor Cooling System Upgrades at Kansas State University TRIGA Reactor Kansas State University $60,035 Kansas State University will replace its primary coolant pump and secondary coolant expansion tank to improve flow rate and increase heat transfer, allowing the reactor to maintain higher power levels. A new water radiation monitor and remote display will also be installed in the primary coolant water sample to allow early detection of fission products released from the reactor fuel.
Infrastructure Upgrade (Minor) to the MITR Research Reactor in Support of Operational Safety Massachusetts Institute of Technology $153,644 The Massachusetts Institute of Technology will provide $3,644 in cost share to install a gaseous tritium detector, wide-range neutron monitor, and an improved safety system display unit for use in research on advanced materials. The improvements will monitor the reactor's experiments involving potential salt reactor coolants and augment shielding against electronic noise.
A Positron Generator System in Support of High Brightness Materials Characterization at the PULSTAR Reactor North Carolina State University $200,000 North Carolina State University will provide $50,000 in cost share to develop a high brightness positron spectrometry capability. The upgrade will be based on a second generation platinum multi-stage positron converter/moderator that will significantly improve the performance of their intense positron beam facility in nondestructive examination techniques.
Upgrades to the MURR Gamma Spectroscopy System University of Missouri, Columbia $200,000 The University of Missouri, Columbia will provide $50,000 in cost share to upgrade its existing High Resolution Gamma Ray Spectroscopy system with modern data acquisition and management functionality. The upgrade will support a number of facility operations essential for reactor operations. High Purity Germanium (HPGe) and Multi-Channel Analyzer (MCA) detectors will also replace aging detectors.
In-Core Neutron Detectors for the University of Texas at Austin TRIGA Reactor University of Texas, Austin $187,682 The University of Texas at Austin will provide $37,682 in cost share to upgrade its in-core neutron detector instrumentation. The upgrade will include a wide range neutron flux channel and self-powered neutron detectors for monitoring the flux in experimental locations and associated electronics. This will reduce electronic noise, allowing for the reactor to operate closer to its licensed power level.
Minor Infrastructure Total   $839,889    
General Scientific Infrastructure
Expansion of Nuclear Industry Programs at Aiken Technical College Aiken Technical College $95,000 Aiken Technical College will acquire specialized training equipment for the full implementation of its nuclear welding technology program. The funds will be used to acquire an orbital welder and Bevelmaster beveling machine used to produce high quality weld preparations and joints required for nuclear power industry training.
A Positron Microprobe Spectrometer for Defects and Nano-Vacancy Characterization in Materials North Carolina State University $325,000 North Carolina State University will provide $75,000 in cost share to install a positron microprobe for nano-phase positron annihilation spectrometry at its Positron Beam Laboratory. The spectrometer system will have a micron-sized positron beam spot on target with depth-profiling capability, and unprecedented positron intensity for nano-void and vacancy characterization of novel materials.
Research and Teaching Equipment for Nuclear Materials Characterization University of California, Berkeley $242,179 The University of California, Berkeley will purchase a high temperature furnace. The furnace can be heated to 1400C, covering a range important to test the performance of conventional as well as advanced materials. This upgrade will compliment previous infrastructure improvements which allow for state-of the-art techniques in nuclear materials research.
Nuclear Engineering Teaching and Research Facilities Upgrade at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign $150,963 The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will upgrade its Nuclear Fuel Cladding and Structural Materials Analysis Laboratory. The equipment which includes an electrolytical polisher for bulk materials, Perchloric acid laboratory hood, nuclear glove box and electrolytical polisher for transmission electron microscope specimens, will be used for investigating material performance in a variety of extreme conditions.
Multipurpose High-Resolution X-ray Diffractometer for Nuclear Energy Research and Education University of Tennessee, Knoxville $274,750 The University of Tennessee at Knoxville will provide $274,750 in cost share to procure an advanced multipurpose X-ray diffraction (XRD) system. The system will consist of high resolution, high intensity, advanced X-ray beam optics, a centric Eulerian cradle, and three types of detectors. They system will allow researchers to examine and quantify materials behavior upon exposure to extreme conditions.
High Temperature Thermal Properties of Nuclear Materials Utah State University $275,000 Utah State University will provide $25,000 to purchase a high temperature laser flash analysis (LFA) system for thermal conductivity and thermal diffusivity studies. The system will compliment already existing high temperature systems allowing researchers to analyze thermophysical properties for the characterization of nuclear fuels and materials.
Development of a Neutron Irradiation Laboratory Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University $300,000 Virginia Tech will provide $50,000 in cost share to establish a neutron irradiation laboratory. The laboratory will contain a neutron generator system, a material glovebox/hot cell with a pneumatic rabbit transfer system, with associated shielding. The laboratory will be used to support planned and current courses in radiation detection and measurement, radiation shielding and particle transport.
Gamma Spectroscopy System for Teaching and Research Washington State University $135,000 Washington State University will procure an up-to-date y-spectroscopy system that will allow superior training, R&D work and laboratory instruction. The new y-spectroscopy system will allow for students and researchers to operate and use the equipment for short-term experiments. It will be used for a variety of nuclear chemistry and radiochemistry applications.
GSI Total   $1,797,892     
 Total Funding   $4,963,034    

*Actual project funding will be established during contract negotiation phase.