NEUP Integrated Research Project and Infrastructure Award Recipients Announced

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced $12.0 million in funding for two university-led research teams to develop an advanced thermal reactor concept and evaluate aging of used nuclear fuel and canister when stored for 100 years or more. DOE also announced it is awarding $5.69 million in infrastructure grants for 21 projects at 19 U.S. universities and colleges in more than 15 states to upgrade university research reactors and purchase equipment that will enhance nuclear research and educate the next generation of nuclear scientists, engineers and technicians.

The Integrated Research Projects (IRPs) and infrastructure grants are being funded through DOE’s Nuclear Energy University Programs (NEUP), an initiative established in FY 2009 to help ensure the country maintains a leading role in nuclear energy research.


FY 2011 Nuclear Energy University Programs Awards

FY 2011 Integrated Research Project Awards*

Lead Research University
Funding Amount
Lead University Location
(City, State)
Project Description

Texas A&M University



College Station, TX

Researchers will receive $4.5 million over the next three years to research aging of used nuclear fuel and canisters that are stored for an extended period of time. Partners include Boise State University, North Carolina State University, the University of Florida, the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Savannah River National Laboratory and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology


$7,500,000 Cambridge, MA Researchers will be awarded $7.5 million over the next three years to test a new, advanced reactor design that generates electricity using a technology similar to what is used in modern natural gas plants. The design will also generate higher temperatures than seen in typical reactors and thus high temperature “process heat.” This heat can be used in refineries to produce transportation fuels. It will also include advanced safety features. Partners include the University of California-Berkeley and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Total $12,000,000    
FY 2011 Major Reactor Upgrades Infrastructure Awards*
Oregon State University


Corvallis, OR Oregon State will upgrade its research reactor’s annular reflector assembly, which reflects neutrons back into the reactor core to burn the fuel more evenly. The award will also fund instrumentation, control and monitoring upgrades, bolstering the university’s ability to conduct cutting-edge nuclear energy research in a safe environment. The Department’s award for this project is $1,645,000.
University of Massachusetts, Lowell $678,300 Lowell, MA Researchers will use $678,300 to replace equipment to monitor reactor power levels as well as radiation detectors to assess emissions for NRC and EPA regulatory compliance.
Total $ 2,173,300    
FY 2011 Minor Reactor Upgrades Infrastructure Awards*
University of Missouri $200,000 Columbia, MO The University of Missouri will use $200,000 of federal funds with $599,814 of matching funds to change out the reactor reflector to maintain operability.  Changing out the reflector will enable the reactor core to burn fuel more evenly.
University of Wisconsin $149,268 Madison, WI Researchers at the University of Wisconsin will use $149,268 in grant money to purchase water purification equipment to facilitate the replacement of an existing steam system in order to reduce maintenance costs and increase reactor availability, modernize water level sensing and control equipment, upgrade reactor instrumentation and control modules, and improve radiation monitoring systems.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology $147,950 Cambridge, MA MIT will provide nearly $50,000 of funds in addition to $147,950 of federal funds to replace the detectors that are used in the MIT Research Reactor nuclear safety system. These detectors will improve safety as well as the operational reliability of the reactor.
The Ohio State University $150,000 Columbus, OH The Ohio State University will use $150,000 of federal funds to enhance safety systems of their research reactor. The upgrades will help ensure the long-term viability of the reactor and facility.
Missouri University of Science and Technology $200,000 Rolla, MO Researchers and staff will use $200,000 of federal funds and $50,000 of matching funds to implement an internet-driven distance learning program to enhance outreach efforts and make the reactor available to other institutions of higher education as well as provide real-time remote tours to high school students. The project is a collaborative effort with the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, University of Tennessee at Knoxville, and Tuskegee University.
Rhode Island Nuclear Science Center $150,000 Narragansett, RI Researchers will use $150,000 to upgrade the instrumentation and control systems of the Rhode Island Nuclear Science Center reactor.
Idaho State University $150,000 Pocatello, ID Researchers will use $150,000 to create a unique system for testing the power and neutron production capabilities of next generation nuclear power plants.  The equipment benefits several educational programs including nuclear engineering, physics, and health physics.
Total $1,147,218    
FY 2011 General Scientific Infrastructure Infrastructure Awards*
Clemson University $170,585 Clemson, SC Researchers at Clemson University will use $170,585 of federal funds to develop new analytical capabilities to measure fundamental heat flow properties to support advanced fuel cycle chemistry. This information is important in the study of storage and disposition for reactor fuel.
University of Illinois $125,000 Urbana, IL Grant money will be used to upgrade materials testing equipment to study aging of nuclear fuel cladding under extreme environment conditions. The equipment will support the research and education missions of the Department of Energy. Federal funding is $125,000.
University of Michigan $300,000 Ann Arbor, MI This project upgrades equipment to conduct radiation damage studies of materials to enhance design of new materials as well as predict limitations of existing materials. Federal funding of $300,000 will be augmented by $600,000 of cost match.
Lakeshore Technical College $147,300 Cleveland, WI Lakeshore Technical College will use $147,300 of federal funds to purchase laboratory equipment necessary to provide instruction in established competencies designed to ensure the quality of the entry level workforce and support the transition of knowledge from near retirement workforce to the next generation of Nuclear Technicians.
University of Wisconsin $292,756 Madison, WI Researchers will use funds to purchase a new detection system for a scanning electron microscope, upgrade the control systems of a particle accelerator, and upgrade testing, monitoring, and control systems of key university facilities to further their education and research activities.  Federal funding of $292,756 is cost matched by $50,000 from the university.
University of Tennessee $249,994 Knoxville, TN The University of Tennessee will use $249,994 of federal funds to develop new facilities and techniques to study irradiation of materials.  The project will develop fundamental understanding or irradiated materials, test new materials under extreme conditions, and validate materials performance models.
The Ohio State University $196,680 Columbus, OH The Ohio State University will use $196,680 of federal funds in addition to $50,000 of cost match to develop new neutron detection techniques, develop a nuclear power plant simulator, and optical fiber performance characterization under intense reactor irradiation at high temperature conditions.
University of Utah $197,777 Salt Lake City, UT Researchers at the University of Utah will use $197,777 of federal funding to purchase laboratory equipment to provide higher quality hands-on education and training for aspiring nuclear engineers, scientists, and policy-makers in graduate and undergraduate studies.
Colorado School of Mines $64,738 Golden, CO The Colorado School of Mines will use $64,738 of federal funds to upgrade a transmission electron microscope with a digital imaging system for the Nuclear Science and Engineering Laboratory.
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute $200,000 Troy, NY Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute will use $200,000 of federal funds to purchase equipment and instrumentation to aid in the fabrication and design of new nuclear materials, and purchase computing workstations to support advanced scientific computing in nuclear engineering.
University of Nevada, Reno $298,129 Reno, NV The university will use grant money to establish a materials testing and evaluation facility at the University of Nevada, Reno. This nearly $300,000 award will be augmented by almost $50,000 in cost share funds from the university.
Midlands Technical College $123,000 Columbia, SC Midlands Technical College will use $123,000 to provide equipment for student education in nuclear operations and nuclear chemistry.
 Total $2,365,959    
 Total Funding $17,686,477    


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