More funding for US university nuclear programmes

8 December 2023

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has released two funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) to spur nuclear energy research and development at US colleges and universities. DOE has allocated a combined $7m for the University Reactor Sharing & Outreach Program and University Nuclear Research Infrastructure Revitalisation FOAs.

These are designed to increase access to nuclear energy instruction, remove barriers to participate in nuclear research and development, and inspire more students to consider careers in nuclear energy.

Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy Dr Kathryn Huff said investing in university nuclear infrastructure and curriculum is crucial for the advancement of nuclear technology and innovation. “These funding opportunities ensure the next generation nuclear workforce has access to state-of-the-art facilities and resources.”

The University Nuclear Research Infrastructure Revitalisation FOA supports increased capacity for university-led nuclear R&D by establishing or improving university nuclear facilities, equipment, and other related capabilities. DOE plans one $6m award to an eligible university.

The University Reactor Sharing & Outreach Program FOA encourages universities with existing nuclear research reactors to share resources and facilities with educational institutions that currently do not have access to research reactors. This could include K-12 schools, vocational schools, community colleges, or other colleges and universities. This FOA also promotes engagement with underrepresented communities to increase nuclear science, engineering, and technology awareness. DOE anticipates making up to five awards worth $200,000 each.

DOE plans to announce awards in the spring of 2024. The awards will be issued through DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy Nuclear Energy University Program (NEUP). To date, NEUP has invested more than $924m in US universities and colleges.

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