Three-term Utah Republican Sen. Bob Bennett describes the benefits of nuclear energy during closing remarks at the recent DOE Nuclear Energy University Programs (NEUP) workshop in Salt Lake City.

Utah senator addresses DOE's Nuclear Energy University Programs workshop

by Kortny Rolston, INL Communications & Public Affairs

Sen. Bennett with U.S. map
"The path to a clean energy future is through a balanced energy approach that includes nuclear energy," Bennett said in advance of the conference.
Nuclear must be part of the nation's energy mix if the American economy is to flourish, Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah, said Friday during a U.S. Department of Energy workshop.

Bennett's remarks closed the two-day Nuclear Energy University Programs (NEUP) workshop, which was held Thursday and Friday in Salt Lake City.

Professors from more than 40 universities attended the workshop to learn how they could contribute to nuclear energy research. During the two-day event, DOE officials and DOE nuclear energy program technical directors conveyed research needs related to the Advanced Fuel Cycle Initiative, Generation IV reactors and other key nuclear energy research areas.

"Cheap energy is essential to our economy, and we can get it without dirty water or dirty air," Bennett said. "Nuclear is the only known renewable that has the capacity to provide us with the amount of energy we need. Solar and wind can only provide a fraction of that."

The three-term Utah Republican also acknowledged that convincing the nation to invest in nuclear energy won't be easy even though Americans' attitude toward it is changing.

"Nuclear is the cleanest and safest form of energy, but it is not the cheapest," he said. "There are a lot of up-front costs, which means we have to have a long-range commitment to nuclear."

Sen. Bennett, (Utah-R)
Bennett's closing remarks were "the highlight of the workshop," said NEUP program manager Dr. Marsha Lambregts.
Dr. Marsha Lambregts, NEUP program manager, said Bennett's remarks were the highlight of the workshop.

"It was an honor to have the senator speak. He has been a longtime supporter of nuclear energy," she said. "We appreciate all he is doing to support nuclear energy and Nuclear Energy University Programs."

The workshop kicked off the second year of NEUP, a DOE Office of Nuclear Energy program that focuses on supporting nuclear energy infrastructure and investigator-initiated research and development projects at U.S. universities and colleges. It also provides scholarships and fellowships to students studying nuclear-related fields. DOE officials presented the plans for the FY 2010 university program, as well as research areas for the next solicitation planned for fall 2009.

Through NEUP, DOE's Office of Nuclear Energy funded 71 university-led research and development proposals worth approximately $44 million in fiscal year 2009. It also provided approximately $6 million in infrastructure and equipment grants to U.S. universities and colleges, and nearly $3 million in scholarships and fellowships to students in nuclear-related fields.

Staff at Idaho National Laboratory's Center for Advanced Energy Studies administer the NEUP program for DOE. CAES is a public/private partnership composed of Idaho's three public universities, private industry and Idaho National Laboratory.

Read the news release "Department of Energy Conference Emphasizes Universities' Role in Nuclear Energy Research."