CINR Funding Opportunity Announcement

Applications are submitted annually through the Consolidated Innovative Nuclear Research Funding Opportunity Announcement. 
More information is available on the Nuclear Energy University Programs (NEUP) website.

The Nuclear Science User Facilities (NSUF) is seeking proposals for projects that will utilize NSUF irradiation, post-irradiation examination and beamline capabilities, including those of our partner institutions.  Click HERE to view a list of NSUF facilities and the technical point of contacts.

The Nuclear Science User Facilities (NSUF) is seeking proposals for projects that will utilize NSUF irradiation, post-irradiation examination and beamline capabilities, including those of our partner institutions.  Click HERE to view a list of NSUF facilities and the technical point of contacts.

Proposals submitted should directly support the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy (DOE-NE) research and development programs. Information on these programs can be found on the Office of Nuclear Energy website and should align to the three major mission areas: the nation’s existing nuclear fleet, the development of advanced nuclear reactor concepts, and fuel cycle technologies

Through the NSUF, DOE-NE funds access to world class capabilities to facilitate the advancement of nuclear science and technology. This mission is supported by providing access, at no cost to the user, to state-of-the-art experimental irradiation testing and Post-irradiation Examination (PIE) facilities, as well as technical assistance including the design and analysis of reactor experiments. This unique model is best described as a distributed partnership with each facility bringing exceptional capabilities and expertise to the relationship, including reactors, beamlines, state-of-the-art instruments, hot cells and shielded cells, and, most importantly, expert technical leads.

Together, these capabilities and people create a national infrastructure that allows the best ideas to be proven using the most advanced capabilities. Through the NSUF, researchers and their collaborators are building on current knowledge to better understand the complex behavior of materials and fuels under irradiation.

Research Areas

1.  Core Materials

2.  Advanced Nuclear Fuel Development

3.  Advanced In-reactor Instrumentation

1.      Core Materials 

This element is primarily focused on understanding material degradation mechanisms and developing radiation resistant materials for application in current and future reactors. Proposed projects may involve research and development (R&D) in the areas of materials irradiation performance and the combined effects of irradiation and environment on materials. Proposal areas include:

·        Screening of advanced materials (refractory metals and alloys, ceramics, and composites) for high performance reactor systems. Demonstrate for the range of service conditions expected in advanced reactor systems, including possible accident scenarios, that the candidate materials have: (a) acceptable dimensional stability, including void swelling, thermal creep, irradiation creep, stress relaxation, and growth; (b) acceptable strength, ductility, and toughness; acceptable resistance to creep rupture, fatigue cracking, creep-fatigue interactions, and helium embrittlement; and (c) acceptable chemical compatibility and corrosion resistance in the presence of coolants.

·        Understanding the degradation of light water reactor (LWR) core materials, including austenitic steels and nickel alloys, and developing improved LWR materials.

·        Understanding the degradation of LWR reactor pressure vessel steels at the neutron fluence accumulated as a result of service times out to 80 years.

·        Determination of the properties of material joints (welds) after exposure to a neutron irradiation environment, including the effects of irradiation on novel welding processes on advanced or novel materials, including oxide dispersion strengthened alloys and composite materials.

·        Investigations of surface implantation/treatment with plasma, electron beam and other advanced techniques for critical components to improve compatibility and performance.

·        Determination of the applicability of nanostructured materials to radiation resistant applications. Determine the microstructural stability at temperatures of 400-600°C for LWR and sodium reactor applications and at temperatures of 800-950°C for high temperature gas cooled reactor (NGNP) applications.

·        Evaluation of core and reactor structural graphite materials for high temperature gas reactors, including property changes under irradiation at high temperature.

·        Development of the data necessary to validate models of material microstructure-property relationships to enable predictions of long-term materials behavior to be made with confidence and to develop high-temperature materials design methodology for materials, use, codification, and regulatory acceptance.

2.      Advanced Nuclear Fuel Development 

This program element is primarily focused on conducting R&D activities for advanced nuclear fuels and improving the performance of current fuels. Applicability extends to fast spectrum transmutation systems, coated particle fuels for high-temperature reactor systems, and robust fuels for light water reactors. Activities should be aimed at designing simple irradiation experiments and post irradiation examination that investigate fundamental aspects of fuel performance such as radiation damage, amorphization, fuel restructuring, species diffusion, and fission product yields for transuranic (TRU) materials. Topics of interest include:

·        Fuels for fast spectrum transmutation including fertile (high uranium content), low-fertile (low uranium content) and non-fertile (no uranium content) compositions in oxide, metal, other ceramic, and composite fuels and targets.

·        Fuels for light water reactors including understanding cladding material irradiation behavior and improving cladding material performance, as well as investigating robust fuels that may be different than existing pellet-type fuels.

·        Understanding LWR cladding material behavior and improving cladding materials.

·        Investigation of novel TRISO coated particle fuels and compacting materials that may offer enhanced performance over currently developed gas cooled reactor fuels.

·        Development of the data necessary to inform and validate fuel behavior modeling tools such as MARMOT, the tool for simulating microstructure evolution under irradiation. Fuel systems of interest include, but are not limited to, LWR fuel systems, (i.e., both the historic UO2 fuel and Zirconium-based cladding), Accident Tolerant Fuel concepts and the Sodium Fast Reactor fuel system (i.e., U-Zr and U-Pu-Zr metallic fuel and steel-based cladding).

3.      Advanced In-reactor Instrumentation  

This program element includes development of advanced in-reactor instrumentation for characterization of materials under irradiation in test reactors and for on-line condition monitoring in power reactors. Proposals should address the development of radiation resistant sensors for measurement of thermal conductivity, dimensional changes (specifically diameter and volume), crack propagation in materials, and internal fission gas pressure. Development of practical techniques that are non-intrusive with respect to irradiation specimens is encouraged, as are concepts that examine the feasibility and practical use of nontraditional methods, such as optical fibers and ultrasonic techniques. 

NSUF Contact: Lindy Bean(208) 526-4662