Rapid Turnaround Experiments


Proposal Submittal & Review Schedule

Solicitation period opens02/18/2020
Proposal due date3/12/2020

Call closes at 4 p.m. Mountain Time

Selection review completed5/15/2020
Proposals awarded6/1//2020

The NSUF mission is to facilitate the advancement of nuclear science and technology by providing nuclear energy researchers with access to world-class capabilities at no cost to the researcher. This mission is enabled by a consortium of partners that make available state-of-the-art experimental irradiation testing, post irradiation examination, and INL high performance computing as well as technical and scientific assistance for the design and execution of projects. Access to NSUF capabilities is granted through competitive proposal processes.

The Rapid Turnaround Experiment (RTE) award process offers an avenue for researchers to perform irradiation effects studies of limited scope on nuclear fuels and materials of interest utilizing NSUF facilities. Completion of RTE projects is expected within 9 months of award. Prospective researchers are strongly encouraged to request samples from the NSUF Nuclear Fuels and Materials Library.

RTE proposals are solicited and awarded three times per year. They are reviewed and evaluated for technical merit, relevancy, and feasibility. The number of awards is dependent on the availability of funding. Further explanation of the review process can be found at RTE Technical Review Process. Proposals must support the DOE Office of Nuclear Energy mission.



Rules for Proposal Submission


  1. The study proposed must be original and shall not duplicate any work currently funded by a DOE, or other Federal, program or project.
  2. The proposed scope of work to be funded by the NSUF must have the potential to produce data at the requested NSUF facilities that will lead to a scientific or engineering outcome suitable for publication that will be attributed to the NSUF.


  1. While complying with all other rules, a proposal may request NSUF funding for use of NSUF capabilities at up to three partner institutions,
    • ONE partner institution for sample preparation; 
    • ONE partner institution for irradiation; and 
    • ONE partner institution for post-irradiation examination (PIE).
  2. Proposals requesting NSUF funding only for sample preparation and/or sample shipment will not be accepted.
  3. Proposals requesting NSUF funding for sample irradiation without NSUF funding for in-situ examination or post irradiation examination will not be accepted. 
  4. Proposals involving the examination of more non-irradiated structural or cladding reference samples than irradiated samples will not be accepted.


  1. The NSUF will only support activities at, and shipping between, NSUF facilities. 
  2. The NSUF does not provide funding to the PI to support salaries, tuition, travel, or other costs typically supported via NE Program R&D funds.
  3. Applicants must have a source of R&D funding that will fund all components of the proposed project not funded by the NSUF.
  4. Completion of all NSUF funded work proposed must require no more than nine months from the date of award. 


  1. Only one principal investigator is allowed per proposal.
  2. A principal investigator may submit no more than one proposal per RTE call.
  3. A principal investigator may have only two active RTE projects.
  4. Proposals are welcomed from principal investigators affiliated with a U.S. university, U.S. government laboratory, U.S. entity or foreign entity incorporated in the U.S. 
  5. Proposals from principal investigators not from a U.S. institution will be accepted as long as the proposal includes a collaborator who is from a U.S. university, U.S. government laboratory, U.S. entity, or foreign entity incorporated in the U.S. This collaborator must have a significant role in the experiment or project that supports the RTE. NSUF will contact the U.S. collaborator to verify their role in the project.
  6. All proposals must include a technical narrative as well as curriculum vitae (or equivalent) for the PI and all team members.
  7. Proposals must include all publications the PI and co-PIs have produced as a result of any and all previous NSUF funded experiments or projects (RTE, beamline, and CINR).

Failure to meet any of the above rules will result in disqualification of the proposal. 


Facility Guidelines for RTE Experiments

These guidelines are designed to help researchers develop a proposal that can be executed for less than $50,000, the RTE target cost. The guidelines are based on the average cost of instrument time at each facility. The guidelines are based on a typical work week at each facility and they assume that only one instrument is used each day. 

Estimated Facility Access Guidelines:

Up to 3 Weeks

  • Center for Advanced Energy Studies - Microscopy and Characterization Suite
  • Oak Ridge National Laboratory - Low Activation Materials Development and Analysis Facility
  • University of Florida - Materials Characterization Facility

Up to 2 Weeks

  • Argonne National Laboratory - Intermediate Voltage Electron Microscopy - Tandem Facility
  • Idaho National Laboratory - Analytical Laboratory, Electron Microscopy Laboratory, Irradiated Materials Characterization Laboratory
  • Los Alamos National Laboratory - CMR Wing 9 Hot Cell, Lujan Center Beamlines, Plutonium Surface Science Laboratory
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology - MIT Nuclear Reactor Laboratory
  • North Carolina State University - Nuclear Reactor Program
  • Pacific Northwest National Laboratory - Radiochemistry Processing Laboratory, Materials Science and Technology Laboratory
  • Purdue University - Interaction of Materials with Particles and Components Testing Facility
  • Sandia National Laboratory - Ion Beam Laboratory, Gamma Irradiation Facility
  • Texas A&M University – Accelerator Laboratory
  • The Ohio State University - Nuclear Reactor Laboratory
  • University of California, Berkeley - Nuclear Materials Laboratory
  • University of Michigan - Michigan Ion Beam Laboratory
  • University of Wisconsin - Characterization Laboratory for Irradiated Materials, Wisconsin Tandem Accelerator Ion Beam
  • Westinghouse - Churchill Laboratory Services

Up to 1 Week

  • Idaho National Laboratory - Hot Fuel Examination Facility
  • Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory – Center for Accelerator Mass Spectroscopy 
  • Oak Ridge National Laboratory - Irradiated Fuels Examination Laboratory, Irradiated Materials Examination and Testing Facility

Up to 3 Days

  • Brookhaven National Laboratory - NSLS II X-ray Powder Diffraction (XPD) Beamline 

Proposals that request irradiation and PIE should assume approximately one week of access time at the irradiation facility and one week at the PIE facility to remain within the suggested $50,000 budget for an RTE.

Neutron irradiation experiments that require the use of ATR, TREAT, HFIR or MITR in core positions do not qualify for an RTE award due to expense and duration of project.

Although the target of a single awarded RTE is $50,000, NSUF may issue an award at higher total cost due to ancillary costs associated with the project (e.g., sample preparation).

Failure to follow the facility guidelines may render your proposal not feasible.

All awarded RTE instrument time must be scheduled within three months of award. Awarded RTEs must be completed within nine months of the date of the award.