U of I, Partners Receive More Than $2M in DOE Nuclear Research Funding
November 13, 2020
MOSCOW, Idaho — Nov. 12, 2020 — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded more than $2 million in nuclear research funding to three projects in partnership with University of Idaho College of Engineering faculty.
Awards were received by project leads, U of I, Idaho Falls nuclear engineering Assistant Professor Robert Borrelli and chemical engineering Associate Professor Haiyan Zhao as well as Moscow campus chemical engineering Professor Indrajit Charit, through the DOE’s Nuclear Energy University Program (NEUP) and Nuclear Energy Enabling Technologies (NEET).
“Nuclear energy is a very viable source of low-carbon energy,” said Larry Stauffer, dean of the U of I College of Engineering, “With our skilled faculty bringing in these major awards, our college helps advance understanding of new nuclear technologies and make them safer to operate. They also provide more students to fill the critical shortage of qualified nuclear engineers needed in this industry.”
- Borrelli will help lead a $1 million project in partnership with Brookhaven National Laboratory to develop artificial intelligence techniques to better understand reactor performance and assist operators in making informed decisions to avoid unnecessary shutdown. The work will include a cost-benefit analysis to evaluate the performance of the platform and the anticipated cost savings from its deployment.
- Charit is part of a nearly $800,000, three-year project in partnership with University of Nevada, Reno. U of I will receive about $200,000 for research toward developing safe and reliable nuclear fuel storage technologies by understanding the mechanical integrity and corrosion performance of stainless steel spent fuel canisters.
- Zhao will lead a $400,000 project on the nuclear fuel cycle, collaborating with the University of Utah and University of Nebraska, Lincoln, to research the solubility and thermodynamics of multicomponent salts. This project will provide data and fundamental understanding for complex salt systems critical to both recycling reactor waste into fuel and safer molten salt reactors.
NEUP provides top science and engineering faculty and their students with opportunities to develop innovative technologies and solutions for civil nuclear capabilities.
Led by DOE National Laboratories, NEET awards are given to research projects that address crosscutting nuclear energy challenges that will help to develop advanced sensors and instrumentation and advanced manufacturing methods for multiple nuclear reactor plant and fuel applications.
The DOE has awarded more than $65 million to support university-led nuclear energy research and development projects in 24 states. Read more about these projects at neup.inl.gov/Lists/Headlines/AnnouncementDispForm.aspx?ID=213.
Borrelli’s project was funded to the U of I by the Brookhaven National Laboratory. U of I’s portion of the prime award is $199,947, of which 100% is the federal share.
Charit’s project was funded to University of Nevada, Reno by the Department of Energy under award DE-NE0008957. The total project funding is $799,710.44, of which 100.00% is the federal share.
Zhao’s project was funded to U of I by the Department of Energy NEUP under award DE-NE0008953. The total project funding is $399,999.15 of which 100.00% is the federal share.
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The University of Idaho, home of the Vandals, is Idaho’s land-grant, national research university. From its residential campus in Moscow, U of I serves the state of Idaho through educational centers in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls, nine research and Extension centers, plus Extension offices in 42 counties. Home to nearly 11,000 students statewide, U of I is a leader in student-centered learning and excels at interdisciplinary research, service to businesses and communities, and in advancing diversity, citizenship and global outreach. U of I competes in the Big Sky and Western Athletic conferences. Learn more at uidaho.edu