WASHINGTON – Underscoring President Obama’s commitments to keep college affordable, expand opportunities for American families nationwide, and promote education in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu today announced more than $47 million in scholarships, fellowships, research grants and university research reactor upgrades to train and educate the next generation of leaders in America’s nuclear industry.
The 143 awards announced today under the Department’s Nuclear Energy University Programs and Integrated University Program will support nuclear energy R&D and student investment at 46 colleges and universities around the country.
These efforts at the Department of Energy build on President Obama’s commitment to work with Congress to help keep college education affordable for America’s students by keeping interest rates low on student loans.
“We must invest in the next generation of American scientists and engineers in order to fulfill our commitment to restarting America’s nuclear industry and making sure that America stays competitive in the 21st century,” said Secretary Chu. “The awards announced today – from scholarships and fellowships to university-led nuclear research projects – are part of the Obama Administration’s efforts to keep college affordable for students nationwide. These investments will help train and educate our future energy leaders, while developing the innovations we need to create new jobs and export opportunities for American-made nuclear technologies.”
Training and Educating the Next Generation of Nuclear Energy Leaders
Through the Integrated University Program, the Energy Department is awarding $5 million for 39 undergraduate scholarships and 31 graduate fellowships to students in nuclear energy-related engineering and science programs at universities across the country. With the support of this program, 70 students will receive financial support to pursue a degree in the nuclear field and gain the skills and experiences they need to succeed in a nuclear science and engineering career. Undergraduate students will receive a $5,000 scholarship, while fellowship winners will receive $50,000 annually over the next three years in addition to a summer internship at a National Laboratory. The selected students will study a breadth of critical nuclear energy issues, from fuel cycle sustainability to reactor efficiency and design.
Enhancing University Research Reactor Capabilities
As part of today’s announcements, the Energy Department is also awarding $6 million to 23 colleges and universities through the Nuclear Energy University Programs to support research reactor infrastructure improvements, ensuring that American universities have the best equipment and tools available to educate and train the next generation of industry leaders. These awards will help upgrade the country’s existing fleet of research reactors and support equipment and infrastructure improvements, making these reactors more efficient and in line with industry advances.
Supporting University-Led Research and Development Projects
Through today’s announcement, the Energy Department is awarding $36.2 million to support 47 university-led nuclear energy research and development projects to advance innovation in four fields: Fuel Cycle Research & Development; Reactor Concepts Research, Development & Demonstration; Nuclear Energy Advanced Modeling & Simulation; and Transformative Research.
These projects, selected for negotiation of award, are led by 32 American universities and colleges in 22 states and the District of Columbia. Other universities, industry leaders and National Laboratories will serve as collaborators and research partners. These include:
– Fuel Cycle Research and Development – $19.9 million – These projects will conduct research and development on advanced nuclear fuel and fuel cycle technologies that enhance the accident tolerance of light water reactors and safe sustainable fuel cycles.
– Reactor Concepts Research, Development and Demonstration – $10.8 million – This program aims to develop new and advanced reactor designs and technologies that broaden the applicability of nuclear reactors while addressing the technical, cost, safety and security issues associated with different reactor concepts.
– Nuclear Energy Advanced Modeling and Simulation – $2.5 million – These projects will support the Energy Department’s efforts to develop advanced simulation and modeling tools aimed at making the next generation of reactors safer and more efficient, while also reducing design and engineering costs.
– Transformative Research – $3 million – This program includes nuclear science and engineering projects that encourage the development of cross-cutting innovative nuclear energy technologies, including advanced reactor and fuel cycle concepts.