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Department of Energy Conference Emphasizes Universities' Role in Nuclear Energy Research

August 14, 2009 - 1:35pm


This Thursday and Friday, the U.S. Department of Energy hosted a workshop with professors from more than 40 U.S. universities to highlight the role universities can play in advancing the nation’s nuclear energy research. U.S. Senator Bob Bennett, R-Utah, delivered closing remarks to the conference, emphasizing the importance of nuclear energy as a clean, carbon-free source of electricity.

"The path to a clean energy future is through a balanced energy approach that includes nuclear energy, which provides electricity to one in five homes and businesses," said Bennett, ranking Republican on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water. "We must continue to invest in our universities to train a new generation of students and experts that will safely operate and maintain our nuclear fleet, increase our capacity to diagnose and treat disease, and lead in advancing global nuclear nonproliferation."

More than 40 universities were represented at the FY 2010 Nuclear Energy University Programs (NEUP) workshop held Aug. 13-14 in Salt Lake City. The workshop kicked off the second year of NEUP, which focuses on supporting nuclear energy infrastructure and investigator-initiated research and development projects at U.S. universities and colleges. DOE officials presented the plans for the FY 2010 university program, as well as research areas for the next solicitation planned for fall 2009.

"Partnerships with universities are an important priority for the Department of Energy," said Dr. Marsha Lambregts, NEUP program manager. "University-level research has significantly advanced nuclear energy technology over the years."

DOE funded 71 university-led research and development proposals worth approximately $44 million in fiscal year 2009. It also provided approximately $6 million in infrastructure and equipment grants to U.S. universities and colleges, and nearly $3 million in scholarships and fellowships to students in nuclear-related fields. Similar funding is planned for FY 2010.

The Center for Advanced Energy Studies provides administrative support to the DOE NEUP program. It is responsible for the integration of universities with the national laboratories. CAES is a public/private partnership composed of Idaho's three public universities, private industry and Idaho National Laboratory.

INL is one of the DOE's 10 multiprogram national laboratories. The laboratory performs work in each of DOE's strategic goal areas: energy, national security, science and environment. INL is the nation's leading center for nuclear energy research and development. Day-to-day management and operation of the laboratory is the responsibility of Battelle Energy Alliance.