Utah universities awarded $1 million for nuclear energy education and innovation

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In what a U.S. Department of Energy’s press release issued yesterday states underscores President Obama’s commitments to keep college affordable, expand opportunities for American families nationwide, and promote education in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced on May 8 that Utah universities have been awarded a total of $1 million in graduate fellowships and research grants to train and educate the next generation of leaders in America’s nuclear industry.

These awards to Utah State University and the University of Utah are part of the Department’s Nuclear Energy University Program and Integrated University Program that will support nuclear energy R&D and student investment at 46 colleges and universities nationwide.

According to the DOE’s release, these efforts at the Department of Energy build on President Obama’s commitment to work with Congress to help keep college education affordable for America’s students by keeping interest rates low on student loans.

“We must invest in the next generation of American scientists and engineers in order to fulfill our commitment to restarting America’s nuclear industry and making sure that America stays competitive in the 21st century,” said Secretary Chu. “The awards announced today – from scholarships and fellowships to university-led nuclear research projects – are part of the Obama Administration’s efforts to keep college affordable for students nationwide.  These investments in Utah will help train and educate our future energy leaders, while developing the innovations we need to create new jobs and export opportunities for American-made nuclear technologies.”

Awards under the Nuclear Energy University Program are divided into multiple categories, including undergraduate scholarships, graduate fellowships, university-led research and development projects, and upgrades at university research reactors.

At the Utah State University, researchers will receive $690,000 to conduct experiments that generate data on natural convection through a fuel assembly. The data will be used to validate the computational models being developed for nuclear safety and design.

Through the Integrated University Program, the Department is also awarding two Utah State University students $310,000 in graduate fellowships, in addition to a summer internship at a DOE National Laboratory. Four students will also receive $5,000 each in scholarship awards. With the support of this program, the students will receive financial support to pursue a degree in the nuclear field and gain the skills and experiences they need to succeed in a nuclear science and engineering career. The selected students will study a breadth of critical nuclear energy issues, from fuel cycle sustainability to reactor efficiency and design.

The University of Utah will receive $29,000 to will upgrade and improve its TRIGA (UUTR) facilities including its fuel handling tool. The tool which is used for research, services, training of students will be used for a variety of experiments. One student will receive a $5,000 scholarship award through the Integrated University Program.

Nationally, the Energy Department is awarding 143 awards for a total of $47 million as part of the Nuclear Energy University Program and Integrated University Program.  Find a full list of projects selected for award HERE.

For more information the Nuclear Energy University Programs and the Integrated University Program visit www.neup.gov.

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