Skip Navigation LinksFY20_Infrastructure_Awards

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​FY 2020 Infrastructure Grants

Twenty-one university-led projects will receive more than $5.7 million for research reactor and infrastructure improvements, providing important safety, performance, and student education-related upgrades to a portion of the nation's 25 university research reactors, as well as enhancing university research and training infrastructure.

A full list of infrastructure recipients is listed below. Actual project funding will be established during contract negotiation phase.

FY 2020 Infrastructure Awards​
Auburn UniversityInfrastructureGeneral Scientific Infrastructure$210,398

The project seeks to enhance the advanced mechanical testing capabilities at Auburn University through the aquisition of two key instruments to further support its existing nuclear research and education programs, as well as advanced manufacturing. An integrated micro- and nano-indentation platform with high-temperature capability will be acquired to cover grain scale high-throughput mechanical evaluation. A digital image correlation system will also be acquired to develop a high-throughput macroscale mechanical testing procedure of the compositionally and microstructurally gradient tensile specimens to maximize neutron test efficiency.
Boise State UniversityInfrastructureGeneral Scientific Infrastructure$319,941

This project will establish the capability to additively manufacture metallic materials at the Center for Advanced Energy Studies and within the NSUF network. This capability will help advance cross-cutting research on additive manufacturing of nuclear materials and in-core sensors and will enable new educational opportunities to attract and train high-quality students for the next generation nuclear energy workforce.
Clemson UniversityInfrastructureGeneral Scientific Infrastructure$228,237

The project will allow for the acquisition of a state-of-the-art thermal analysis infrastructure of a high-speed thermogravimetry equipped with online mass spectrometry, allowing for high-speed temperature variation and instantaneous, simultaneous, and accurate quantification of exit species. The rapid and accurate thermodynamic and kinetic study of nuclear energy materials and processes will result in a robust thermodynamic characterization hub for nuclear energy materials and processes.
North Carolina State UniversityInfrastructureGeneral Scientific Infrastructure$261,175

This project will allow for the development of a unique in-situ testing laboratory (ISTL) through acquisition of a scanning electron microscope (SEM) and installation of a miniature thermomechanical fatigue testing system inside the SEM. The proposed ISTL will give the research community unprecedented capability to perform nuclear research, educate next generation scientists, and develop a future NSUF program in studying real-time microstructure evolution of very high temperature reactor materials under realistic loading conditions.
University of California, BerkeleyInfrastructureGeneral Scientific Infrastructure$265,000

This project will allow for the acquisition and installation of a new scanning electron microscope (SEM) for enhanced scientific work on nuclear materials. New characterization techniques developed in recent years will be utilized, using high-end SEM, to foster the understanding of nuclear materials and enable observation of the materials deformation and microstructural changes as they occur. Wide access to the nuclear materials and nuclear engineering community through NSUF and direct avenues will be provided.
University of MichiganInfrastructureGeneral Scientific Infrastructure$166,560

This project will allow for the acquisition of equipment to establish rapid materials consolidation and modification to complement the already established facilities at the University of Michigan, including the world-class Michigan Ion Beam Laboratory (MIBL). Coupling both MIBL and the proposed facility in a single research effort will result in a new end-to-end high throughput nuclear materials discovery capability in a single institution. The resulting increase in capability will serve all nuclear energy supporting universities, national laboratories, and industry.
University of Nevada, RenoInfrastructureGeneral Scientific Infrastructure$343,147

The project will establish a new, in-situ, nano-scaled structure, composition and defects evolution examination infrastructure system for irradiated structural materials using the Hysitron PI-95 Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM) PicoIndenter, which is designed to work in conjunction with a state-of-art high resolution TEM. This system will allow in-situ characterization under mechanical strain in a variety of irradiated materials at the University of Nevada, Reno.
University of New MexicoInfrastructureGeneral Scientific Infrastructure$250,000

This project will establish a high temperature mechanical testing capability within the hot cell of Nuclear Engineering Department at the University of New Mexico that can be operated using the existing manipulators, allowing remote operation for testing radioactive specimens. Combined with the existing infrastructure, this capability will allow establishment of microstructure-mechanical property relations in structural materials for nuclear applications. The facility will also help educate and train the next generation of nuclear scientists, engineers, and policy makers.
University of PittsburghInfrastructureGeneral Scientific Infrastructure$300,000

This project will allow the acquisition of key equipment to strengthen the core nuclear capability in the strategic thrust area of instrumentation and measurements at the University of Pittsburgh. This will be accomplished through the purchase of a laser flash analyzer and a thermal mechanical analyzer as a tool suite for complete thermophysical property information, and to fill an infrastructure gap to enhance nuclear research and education.
University of Wisconsin-MadisonInfrastructureGeneral Scientific Infrastructure$263,000

The project will allow for the addition of a state-of-the-art laser induced breakdown spectroscopy system, which will complement the University of Wisconsin-Madison Nuclear Engineering program's molten salt research capabilities with an ex-situ and in-situ chemical analysis characterization tool that can detect all impurities in the salt, even low-Z elements. With these additions, higher throughput analysis of alloys and salts for molten salt reactor applications would be developed and would accelerate material discoveries.
Utah State UniversityInfrastructureGeneral Scientific Infrastructure$160,000

This project will allow for the acquisition and installation of a custom creep testing frame with an environmental chamber which has been modified with windows to support camera-based strain measurements. The measurements obtained using the equipment will be used to study heterogeneous creep strain accumulation in nuclear materials, with applications geared towards light water reactor sustainability, accident tolerant fuels, and other important materials-related challenges in nuclear science and engineering.
Washington State UniversityInfrastructureGeneral Scientific Infrastructure$287,450

This project will allow for the acquisition of a radiological laboratory-based high-resolution hard X-ray spectrometer that can perform both X-ray absorption spectroscopy and X-ray emission spectroscopy. This instrument will greatly upgrade the technical capability of the nuclear reactor facility at Washington State University (WSU) for nuclear-related and radiochemical research and teaching, allowing for enhancement of WSU’s capacity to attract high quality students interested in nuclear science.
Idaho State UniversityInfrastructureReactor Upgrades$59,262

The existing control rod drive mechanism of the Idaho State University's Aerojet General Nucleonics model 201-Modified reactor will be replaced with a new, reliable, alternative design to reduce the overall complexity and probability of failure and improve the overall reliability and safety of the reactor. With proper material selection and improved structural design, the new drives are lighter, with little to no change in structural integrity, and eliminate the binding scenarios by using a single lead screw and implementing additional guide rods. The new design ensures the reactor’s long-term viability for educational and research activities and increases the reliability and safety of operation.
Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyInfrastructureReactor Upgrades$537,818

The existing emergency electrical power battery system at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Research Reactor will be updated with new technology and equipment, enhancing emergency preparedness of the reactor facility by restoring the post-shutdown emergency power supply for at least eight hours. In addition, the two existing reactor motor control centers that provide normal electrical power to the reactor's main cooling pumps, building isolation equipment, instrumentation, and other necessary operational and safety equipment, will be updated to improve equipment reliability and enhance personnel electrical safety by using components that meet modern standards.
Oregon State UniversityInfrastructureReactor Upgrades$118,020
The TRIGA® Mk II Oregon State TRIGA® Reactor program will purchase a liquid scintillation counter in order to increase utilization of the facility. This upgrade will provide opportunity for continued safe use of the reactor in the areas of nuclear science and engineering research, as well as materials science at Oregon State University and development relevant to the DOE.
Pennsylvania State UniversityInfrastructureReactor Upgrades$306,744

In order for the necessary construction of a new beam ball at the Penn State Breazeale Reactor, the antiquated underground storage tanks will be replaced with above ground water storage tanks within the expanded neutron beam hall space. This effort will allow progress to continue toward the goal of massively expanding the number of neutron experiment stations available to the Radiation Science and Engineering Center users.
Purdue UniversityInfrastructureReactor Upgrades$36,000

The heat exchanger and associated water process system of the Purdue University Reactor Number One will be replaced, in order to ensure the reactor's safe and continuous operation. This replacement will allow the Purdue University Reactor Number One to reject 10 kW of reactor heat with nominal excess capacity and achieve steady state operations at the fully licensed power level with enhanced capacity, reliability, and safety. With this replacement, the facility will be able to access fluence required for meaningful research applications.
Rhode Island Nuclear Science CenterInfrastructureReactor Upgrades$477,000

The Rhode Island Nuclear Science Center's last remaining original components in the reactor controls system will be upgraded and the remaining components will be integrated into a configuration that not only enhances the reactor operator’s ability to operate the reactor safely, but also improves reliability, maintenance capability and longevity. By replacing the last of the vacuum tube based technology from the original installation with the Reactor Safety Control Components, the long term viability of the research reactor to support ongoing and future research projects and educational endeavors will be improved.
University of Massachusetts, LowellInfrastructureReactor Upgrades$129,788

Equipment and the experimental infrastructure at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell Research Reactor will be upgraded, in order to ensure the safe and efficient operation of the reactor during the next 20 or more years of operations. A new control console that will ensure the safe and efficient operation, as well as upgrades to the experimental infrastructure of the facility, during the next 20 or more years of operations. The proposed control system upgrades will continue to enhance this ongoing educational development pathway.
University of Missouri, ColumbiaInfrastructureReactor Upgrades$585,013

The University of Missouri-Columbia Research Reactor's beryllium reflector will be replaced, due to the irradiation induced swelling from the neutron fluence and thermal induced tensile stress from radiation heating of the beryllium material. Replacing the reactor’s beryllium reflector is a high priority and critical upgrade necessary for the continued safe and reliable operations of the reactor to support nuclear science and engineering students and faculty, as well as the facility’s extensive infrastructure supporting the research needs of the nuclear industry.
University of UtahInfrastructureReactor Upgrades$487,387

The cooling system of the Universty of Utah TRIGA reactor (UUTR) will be replaced to enhance performance and utility by allowing for the reactor to run for much longer periods at full power, increasing safety and operational reliability. Converting the cooling mechanism from a passive system to an active system will increase the cooling capacity by up to 1 MW thermal energy. This will allow for the UUTR to have much longer runtimes and higher daily neutron/gamma fluence, which will enhance the capability for a wide range of nuclear research and development efforts.