NSUF Article

DOE Awards Eight CINR NSUF Projects

Monday, July 6, 2020 - Calls and Awards

In June, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) selected one industry, three DOE national laboratory, and four university-led projects to take advantage of NSUF capabilities to investigate important nuclear fuel and material applications. DOE will support two of these projects with a total of $1 million in research funds. All eight of these projects will be supported by more than $4 million in facility access costs and expertise for experimental neutron and ion irradiation testing, post-irradiation examination facilities, synchrotron beamline capabilities, and technical assistance for design and analysis of experiments through NSUF.

"Advancing the next generation of nuclear energy is paramount to ensuring reliable, clean electricity for the American people. If we are serious about making substantial progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, then emissions-free nuclear energy must be a part of that conversation," said Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette. 

"Investments in programs like these help strengthen American leadership in nuclear innovation by supporting the development of the next generation of talent," said Dr. Rita Baranwal, Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy. "DOE is committed to ensuring that researchers have access to cutting-edge infrastructure and lab capabilities to develop advanced nuclear technologies."

This announcement was part of DOE’s $65 million funding announcement to fund 93 advanced nuclear technology projects in 28 states falling under DOE's Nuclear Energy University Program (NEUP), the Nuclear Energy Enabling Technologies (NEET) as well as the NSUF.

TitleInstitutionNSUF Access FundingProject Description
20-19172: Irradiation of Sensors and Adhesive Couplants for Application in LWR Primary Loop Piping and ComponentsElectric Power Research Institute, Inc.
$746,579Researchers paln to attach ultrasonic transducers to substrates using various adhesive couplants that will be irradiated at elevated temperature to simulate LWR primary loop conditions at the PULSTAR reactor at North Carolina State University. Ultrasonic data will be taken in-situ. Subsequently, the sensors and couplant interfaces will be characterized using the LAMDA facility at ORNL. The results will be used to benefit a parallel EPRI project on online monitoring of cracks in LWR primary loop piping.
20-19128: Machine Learning on High-Throughput Databases of Irradiation Response and Corrosion Properties of Selected Compositionally Complex Alloys for Structural Nuclear Materials
University of Wisconsin-Madison
$501,996Researchers will integrate high-throughput synthesis, irradiation, and characterization with atomistic and mesoscale simulation and machine learning to develop understanding and predictive models for irradiation response and corrosion properties of selected alloys. The focus will be on structural Compositionally Complex Alloys (four or more elements in a single-phase solid solution) relevant for high temperature nuclear applications.
20-19178: Demonstration of Self Powered Neutron Detectors Performance and Reliability
Idaho National Laboratory
$704,572Researchers will demonstrate operation of domestically produced self-powered neutron detectors in the pressurized water loop at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Reactor (MITR) as part of a developmental program to incorporate such sensors into ATR fuels and materials experiments. This ability to point measure flux in ATR experiments in real time will substantially contribute to fulfillment of DOE-NE program objectives.
20-19163: Synergy of radiation damage with corrosion processes through a separate effect investigation approach
North Carolina State University
$175,000Reserachers will investigate the synergy of radiation damage with corrosion processes through a series of separate effect experiments which will look at the effect of irradiation on iron-based systems and nickel-based systems and how radiation damage affect corrosion processes to support Liquid Metal Cooled Reactors and Molten Salt Reactors.
20-19122: Effect of neutron irradiation on microstructure and mechanical properties of nanocrystalline nickel 
North Carolina State University
$204,169Researchers will conduct post irradiation examination (PIE) of nanocrystalline and conventional grained nickel that has been irradiated in ATR for 1 and 2 dpa. The PIE involves mechanical and microstrutural characterization using microhardness, tensile, electron backscatter diffraction, optical, tranmission electron microscopy and atom probe tomography techniques.
20-19821: X-ray diffraction tomography analysis of SiC composite tubes neutronirradiated with a radial high
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
$50,000Researchers will conduct x-ray diffraction computed tomography analysis at NSLS II at Brookhaven National Laboratory and provide critical data on lattice strain for the response of SiC tubes to neutron irradiation under a temperature gradient. This information will be used to validate and/or improve the thermo-mechanical modeling of SiC/SiC tubes for accident tolerant LWR fuel applications. This experimental result will be compared with simulated lattice strains.
20-19145: Improving Lifetime Prediction of Electrical Cables in ContainmentPacific Northwest National Laboratory
$21,800Cable degradation accelerates late in the cable's lifetime curve but this phenomena must be validated with experimental data. Researchers will use the Sandia Gamma Irradiation Facility (GIF) to expose nuclear cable insulation samples in sealed containers to a series of gamma doses at a series of dose rates. Oxygen concentration of the sealed containers and dielectric properties of the polymer samples will be measured pre- and post-irradiation. Lifetime curves of the insulation will be determined at more extreme accelerated conditions.
20-19076: Investigation of Degradation Mechanisms of Cr coated Zirconium alloy cladding in Reactive Initiate Accidents (RIA)University of Wisconsin-Madison$1,683,412Researchers will investigate the thermal, mechanical, and irradiation response of chromium-coated zirconium alloy claddings under RIA conditions, in comparison to uncoated Zr-alloy cladding. The outcome of the project will be used for anticipated licensing applications to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), thereby accelerating use of coated accident tolerant fuel concepts in U.S. commercial power reactors.