The US Department of Energy (DOE) has selected 42 university-led nuclear research and development (R&D) projects for grants totaling $38m. These projects, funded over three to four years through the Department's Nuclear Energy University Program, will help advance nuclear education and develop the the next generation of nuclear technologies.

The research will be lead by 23 US universities for the projects in 17 states. Other universities, industries, and national laboratories will serve as collaborators and research partners.

The projects focus on four nuclear energy research areas, the first being Fuel Cycle Research and Development. 13 projects have been selected in this category, receiving total grant of $11.82m.

The goal of this research area is to research and demonstrate technologies that will enable management of the used fuel produced by the current and future nuclear fuel cycle in a manner that reduces proliferation risk.

The research conducted in the program is focused on developing new technology options that will improve used fuel storage, recycling and disposal options, with performance in cost and environmental consequences improved from current technology performance.

In the ‘Generation IV Reactor Research and Development’ area, 20 projects have been chosen, securing a total grant of $19,86m.

The goal of this research area is to research and develop nuclear reactors that will produce more energy and create less waste. The focus is developing new reactor technologies with high safety, economic, and sustainability performance.

The program will involve research on crosscutting technologies that will accelerate the development of advanced reactor concepts, including fuels, materials, and reactor modeling. The program also investigates small and medium-sized reactor concepts.

The research program is focused on the key technology challenges for these concepts and supports cross-cutting activities, including modeling and simulation, structural materials, energy conversion, nuclear instrumentation and control, and advanced manufacturing approaches.

Two projects have received a total of $764,10 to conduct research in ‘Light Water Reactor Sustainability’ area. The goal of this research area is to develop technologies that can improve the reliability of current reactors, and provide information to make decisions on extending the life of current reactors.

Research elements are focused on the understanding of fundamental aging and degradation behavior in reactor materials, creating improved inspection and monitoring technologies, fostering development of advanced fuels, and incorporating risk-informed, performance-based techniques in safety margin characterization and life-extension decision making.

Seven projects will $5.56m to conduct ‘Mission-Relevant Investigator-Initiated Research’. This area includes research in the fields or disciplines of nuclear science and engineering such as, nuclear engineering, nuclear physics, health physics, nuclear materials science, radiochemistry or nuclear chemistry.