The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has selected Westinghouse Electric Company and university research partners to receive a total of $7.5m in funding to advance nuclear innovation in a number of areas.
For one of the projects, Westinghouse is investigating the neutron radiation effects on zirconium alloys produced via the additive manufacturing process (3D printing) for light water reactors.
This project received $830,000 in funding and will be conducted at the Westinghouse Materials Center of Excellence Hot Cell Facility in Churchill, Pennsylvania. Researchers will conduct post-irradiation examination of zirconium material that was irradiated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology reactor.
“Westinghouse’s technology leadership position, as well as its long-standing collaborative relationship with universities allows the company to continue advancing nuclear technology for safer, cleaner energy,” said Terry Rudek, vice president, Global Engineering Services and interim chief technology officer for the company’s Global Technology Office.
“DOE funding for research is vital to developing new nuclear technologies that benefit organizations worldwide and allows us to achieve success on a shorter timetable. We are proud to have such a significant role in the future of nuclear energy.”
The remainder of the funding will be allocated to six U.S. university-led teams, with Westinghouse participation, for research focused on radiation effects on fiber optic sensors, silicon carbide composite degradation in a helium environment, two critical heat flux projects, and a behavior model for spent fuel cladding storage and transportation. The latter project will receive $3 million in funding and will be led by The Pennsylvania State University.
The funding that Westinghouse received is part of DOE’s more than $66 million in funding for nuclear energy-related and infrastructure research in 28 states through the Nuclear Energy University Program (NEUP), Nuclear Science User Facilities (NSUF) and Nuclear Energy Enabling Technology (NEET) program.