University of South Carolina

Researchers awarded DOE grant for nuclear energy R&D

Researchers from the University of South Carolina’s College of Engineering and Computing will receive nearly $497,500 over two years from the U.S. Department of Energy in a new national program to accelerate nuclear-energy research and development.

Dr. Frank Chen, a researcher in the department of mechanical engineering, and Dr. Ken Reifsnider, chair of the university’s Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Center of Excellence and director of the university’s Future Fuels Initiative, will collaborate with Thad M. Adams and Kyle Brinkman at the Savannah River National Laboratory. The study will address the use and storage of tritium for the Next Generation Nuclear Plant, a DOE program to develop nuclear-power plants that will be environmentally safe and affordable.

Earlier this month, the college was selected for DOE’s Energy Frontier Research Center program, which will focus on clean-energy research. Reifsnider will lead the center’s research, which is expected to bring $12.5 million in federal funding.

MIT, the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Texas A&M and the Georgia Institute of Technology are among the universities receiving funds from the Nuclear Energy University Program.

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said the program will play a key role in addressing the global-climate crisis.

“As a zero-carbon energy source, nuclear power must be part of our energy mix as we work toward energy independence and meeting the challenge of global warming,” Chu said.

“The next generation of nuclear power plants – with the highest standards of safety, efficiency and environmental protection – will require the latest advancements in nuclear science and technology,” he said. “These research and development university awards will ensure that the United States continues to lead the world in the nuclear field for years to come.”

By Office of Media Relations

Posted: 06/18/09 @ 12:00 AM | Updated: 06/24/09 @ 5:28 PM | Permalink