Idaho Receives Big Return on Nuclear Investments

Monday, May 11 2009

May 11, 2009

CORRECTION: The state of Idaho did not receive the most funding of any state in the country from the 2009 Nuclear Energy University Program Research and Development Awards. North Carolina received $125,225 more, making Idaho second.

Written by Ken Kingery

MOSCOW, Idaho – Idaho’s investment in nuclear energy research is already paying off for the entire state – and the University of Idaho – in a big way.

The Department of Energy announced last week its 2009 Nuclear Energy University Program Research and Development Awards. Of the 71 grants totaling nearly $44 million, eight are headed by faculty from an Idaho public university.

In all, Idaho universities earned $5.82 million in grants – second to only North Carolina by a mere $125,225 for the most of any state in the country.

“There is close to six million dollars in new money coming into the state for research as a direct result of the investment in the Center for Advanced Energy Studies,” said Bob Smith, the University of Idaho’s associate director of CAES, a collaborative effort between Idaho’s three public universities and the Idaho National Laboratory that was dedicated in Idaho Falls last February. “And this is just one example from one call for proposals. There is a variety of other similar efforts going on as well.”

Leading the charge is the University of Idaho, heading five projects totaling $2.85 million – the fourth highest university in the country for both number of grants and total dollars – while providing support for three more projects totaling $1.1 million.

The University of Idaho is leading projects to:
• Validate data collection methods for projects researching designs for the next generation of nuclear reactors;
• Simulate thermomechanics issues in the design of the next generation of nuclear reactors;
• Investigate the properties of specialty steel materials for use in the next generation of nuclear reactors;
• Fabricate new materials for ultra high temperature reactors; and
• Investigate the use of supercritical fluids to extract radioactive materials from ionic liquids to treat high-level acidic wastes or reprocessing spent nuclear fuel.

In all, 11 of the 71 projects have Idaho faculty involved, and more than one-eighth of the funds are going to projects led by Idaho faculty.

“It’s a very good showing for the state of Idaho,” said Smith. “We’re just one of 50 states and only have about a half percent of the country’s population. Our contribution to nuclear power research far exceeds what one might expect from simply looking at our size.”
# # #

About the University of Idaho
Founded in 1889, the University of Idaho is the state’s flagship higher-education institution and its principal graduate education and research university, bringing insight and innovation to the state, the nation and the world. University researchers attract nearly $100 million in research grants and contracts each year; the University of Idaho is the only institution in the state to earn the prestigious Carnegie Foundation ranking for high research activity. The university’s student population includes first-generation college students and ethnically diverse scholars. Offering more than 150 degree options in 10 colleges, the university combines the strengths of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. For information, visit

Media Contact: Ken Kingery, University Communications, (208) 885-9156,

About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho helps students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to 70 research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals. For information, visit