U.S. Department of Energy investing $5.5 million into the Gem state


The United States Department of Energy announced their investment of $82 million in advanced nuclear technologies across 28 states Tuesday morning. This is a part of the government’s plan to reduce carbon emissions.

Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz visited the Idaho National Laboratory to explain that $5.5 million of the investment will be going towards universities and institutions in Idaho.

“We saw what Idaho is doing to advance nuclear technology and today, as part of an initiative called G.A.I.N., that in fact is run out of Idaho, we are announcing $82 million dollars in awards to 93 projects across the country. $5.5 million of that will be to support research and infrastructure in Idaho,” said Secretary Moniz.

Secretary Moniz is a huge proponent for G.A.I.N.: the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear program.

In addition, the INL was recently awarded funding under the Nuclear Energy Voucher pilot program.

This program will give Idaho universities funding and more access to utilize the INL for research. Programs like these foster relationships within the nuclear industry and universities to aid in bringing clean energy technologies to light.

“We support a lot of research at our national laboratories, but we cannot forget the complementary research at the universities. In doing so it’s a two-for-one. We get the research done and we use that for training and educating our graduate students. That has been our secret sauce for 60-70 years,” said Secretary Moniz.

With the $5.5 million granted to Idaho institutions, and the additional small business grant through the G.A.I.N. program, Secretary Moniz is excited for the future of advanced nuclear technology development in the gem state.

The following are institutions in Idaho receiving large portions of the award. More information on the award money can be found
at https://neup.inl.gov/Lists/Headlines/AnnouncementDispForm.aspx?ID=134

For General Scientific Infrastructure-

Boise State University

Boise State University will procure an aerosol jet printer in order to establish additive manufacturing

capability to fabricate functional materials and sensor devices for nuclear energy applications. The equipment will have crosscutting significance to advanced sensor and instrumentation research in multiple nuclear reactor designs and spent fuel cycles.

For Reactor Upgrades-

Idaho State University

Idaho State University will replace the BF3 detectors in the AGN-1 Reactor with modern B-10 lined detectors. The requested safety instrumentation upgrades will significantly modernize reactor operations, improve reliability, and allow students to train using current technology.

For Joint NEET/NEUP R&D with NSUF Access-

Boise State University

This project will investigate the microstructural and mechanical integrity of high irradiation fluence on laser weld repairs of previously-irradiated material. Studies will focus on neutron-irradiated AISI 304 stainless steel hex blocks, which contain high void number density and high helium concentration. These specimens will then be welded and subsequently ion irradiated to as high as 200 displacements per atom (dpa).

Idaho State University

Researchers will perform neutron irradiation and post-irradiation examination of bulk nanostructured austenitic and ferritic/martensitic (F/M) steels that are anticipated to have enhanced irradiation tolerance. Two innovative, low-cost manufacturing techniques will be used to manufacture the samples: equal-channel angular pressing (ECAP) and high-pressure torsion (HPT).

For Fuel Cycle Research and Development-

University of Idaho

The project aims to use a science-based approach to set guidelines of selecting dopants for developing fuel cladding chemical interaction (FCCI)-resistant metallic fuel systems for fast reactors. Lanthanide fission products migrate to the fuel-cladding gap leading to cladding breaches. The team will perform both theoretical modeling and experiments to arrive at the guidelines that are based on sound science. If successful, this can lead to breakthroughs in minimizing the FCCI effect. University of Idaho
Researchers will use unique capabilities to modulate the electrodeposition of actinides (depleted Uranium) and fission products (Ln) during nucleation and growth stages. The team aims to preclude formation of electrodeposits with dendritic morphology. Morphology of electrodeposits will be controlled by electrolyte composition.

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