NSUF Article

U.S. Department of Energy Announces FY17 University Infrastructure Awards

Wednesday, September 20, 2017 - Calls and Awards
These awards strengthen U.S. competitiveness in nuclear R&D and ensure that American universities have the best equipment and tools available to educate the next generation of industry leaders.

The U.S. Department of Energy is awarding approximately $6 million to 19 colleges and universities to support research reactor infrastructure and general scientific infrastructure improvements. These awards strengthen U.S. competitiveness in nuclear R&D and ensure that American universities have the best equipment and tools available to educate the next generation of industry leaders. The FY 2017 university infrastructure awards will upgrade the existing fleet of research reactors and support equipment and infrastructure improvements, making these reactors and capabilities more efficient and in line with industry advances. 

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

The Nuclear Science User Facilities administers the FY 2017 awards on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy.

General Scientific Infrastructure



Project Description

Alfred University


A CeraFab 8500 printer will enable additive manufacturing work on ceramic materials by developing techniques and training faculty and graduate students through work on fuel surrogates. 

Boise State University


Synthesis and characterization equipment (advanced manufacturing) to support advanced manufacturing for nuclear sensors.

Clemson University


Raman microscope with high-temperature atmosphere-controlled capability for the characterization of ceramic materials relevant to diverse aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle.

Illinois Institute of Technology


The proposed equipment (autoclave with two sapphire windows) will allow in-situ micro-scale characterization of oxide microstructure of nuclear materials under corrosion in various environments as well as the in-situ investigation of primary water radiolysis effect on corrosion.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology


New cameras (VIS and IR cameras) will expand experimental capabilities in two phase flow and boiling heat transfer, leveraging high-speed infrared and video imaging techniques, spatial resolution of 100 µm and a temporal resolution of 0.4 ms.

North Carolina State University


1. A full system for stress-corrosion cracking testing in light water reactor environments, 2. Two individual “basic” high pressure autoclaves essentially for teaching purposes, 3. Electrochemical corrosion testing equipment."

Texas A&M University


State-of-the-art X-ray tomography combined to high-frequency optical sensors to our advanced flow visualization systems to perform high resolution measurements of single- and multi-phase flows.

The Ohio State University


The capabilities will support research in advanced sensor development and material property characterization. Instruments include photoluminescence and UV-Vis spectrometers, GHz oscilloscope, spectrum analyzer, pulsed laser, fiber optic sensor characterization equipment, inert environment glovebox, equipment for ultrasonics testing, and mechanical translation stages.

University of Florida


1. Fill the nationally wide need gap for IASCC test facility in order to support the materials degradation and advanced nuclear materials development for the LWR Sustainability (LWRS) program.  2. Support the on-going, under-review and near future nuclear materials research at the University of Florida.  3. Train the next generation of work force for nuclear engineering R&D sector with radioactive materials hands-on experience.

University of Idaho


1. Dynamic materials testing loop: An existing static autoclave testing system will be modified with a high pressure re-circulation flow loop, loading train, and required instrumentation for fatigue crack growth and stress corrosion cracking of structural materials used in nuclear reactors.  2.  Thermal analysis system: adsorption isotherms for various systems including non-radioactive isotopes of fission products on graphite and graphitic materials.

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign


The proposed capability consists of an Autoclave Recirculating Loop to Enable LWR Immersion, Slow Strain Rate (SSRT), and Constant Extension Rate Testing (CERT) to perform experiments related to stress corrosion cracking, cyclical fatigue, and creep of LWR advanced alloy structural components.

University of Michigan


Advanced high-speed X-ray imaging, high resolution distributed temperature sensors, and high resolution profile velocimetry sensing for application in liquid metals and other fluids + development, design, and testing of new fast neutron imaging technologies.

University of Wisconsin, Madison


The proposed capability consists of a Glow Discharge - Optical Emission Spectrometer & chemistry controlled recirculatory loop for the Environmental Degradation of Nuclear Materials Laboratory.

Utah State University


The proposed capability consists of a Focused Ion Beam for Advanced Specimen Preparation, 3D Microstructural Characterization, and Simulated Irradiation.

Virginia Tech (VPI)


Equipment to characterize single and two phase flows in three dimensions to support V&V of simulation codes and to study dynamic corrosion in turbulent environments:  1.) 3D anemometer and wall shear stress probes and related instruments in the existing high turbulence corrosion loop to quantify how highly turbulent coolant flow affects the flow-assisted corrosion/erosion of reactor core materials; 2.) A Raytrix PIV/fluid-motion 3D light-field camera system in existing thermal-hydraulics and multiphase flow loops and in the corrosion loop to enable us to measure the three-dimensional three-components (3D3C) velocity field in single- and two-phase flows

Research Reactor Infrastructure



Project Description

The Ohio State University


Acquire radiation shielding material and instrumentation to recommission two neutron beam ports at the research reactor.

Pennsylvania State University


Replace the existing control console with a system based on nuclear-grade hardware, including eventually a digital safety system. 

University of Maryland


Purchase a spare control rod drive mechanism, end fittings for the new fuel elements and upgrade the software for the facility’s gamma spectrometry equipment.

University of Missouri, Columbia


Replace paper strip-chart recorders with digital models and data acquisition & storage hardware, and replace a 30-year old off-gas (stack) effluent monitoring system

University of Wisconsin, Madison


Replace health physics (HP) radiation monitoring equipment to support  reactor operation and research.

Washington State University


Replace the existing 1970s-vintage Exhaust Gas Monitoring (EGM) system with a modern system.  The original system will be retained as a backup.

For more information regarding the FY2017 University Infrastructure awards and funding opportunity announcement, please visit https://nsuf.inl.gov/Page/infrastructurefoa.