The US Department of Energy is to provide an additional $14.5 million in funding to help universities upgrade their research reactors and purchase general scientific equipment and instrumentation.

DOE will provide one-year funding awards totalling up to $7 million for university reactor upgrades and equipment and $7.5 million for general scientific equipment and instrumentation.

The goal of the programme is to enable and support the education and training of nuclear scientists, engineers, and policy-makers, in graduate and undergraduate study and two-year programmes, as well as R&D that is relevant to the DOE and the nuclear energy industry in general.

“There is a critical need for a trained workforce as the nation moves toward greater use of nuclear energy to meet our energy needs and reduce carbon pollution,” said US energy secretary Steven Chu. “To ensure that the United States leads in the global nuclear energy industry, we must support nuclear education and make sure students have the tools they need to learn and lead the field.”

Two- or four-year US universities and colleges, and trade schools are eligible to apply for funding. The final awards are planned for summer 2010.