Rapid Turnaround Experiments


Proposal Submittal & Review Schedule

Solicitation period opens 4/11/2017
Proposal due date 5/31/2017

Call closes at 4 p.m. Mountain Time

Selection review completed 6/31/2017
Proposals awarded 8/12/2017

The NSUF mission is to provide nuclear energy researchers access (at no cost to the researcher) to world-class capabilities to facilitate the advancement of nuclear science and technology. This mission is supported by providing access to state-of-the-art experimental irradiation testing, post irradiation examination facilities, and high performance computing capabilities (FALCON at INL) as well as technical assistance for the design and execution of projects. Access to NSUF is granted through competitive proposal processes.

Rapid Turnaround Experiment (RTE) and Beamline awards provide an avenue to examine irradiation effects on nuclear fuels and materials. These awards allow researchers to utilize an NSUF facility to examine fuels or materials of interest.  

Researchers may use samples from the NSUF Nuclear Fuels and Materials Library or provide their own. Sample preparation is routinely completed prior to the visit. Proposals typically request post irradiation examination requiring use of instruments (FIB, TEM, SEM, etc.), synchrotron irradiation, ion beam irradiation, or high performance computing. Neutron irradiation experiments that require the use of ATR, MITR, or HIFR reactors do not qualify for an RTE award.  

Proposals are reviewed and awarded three times per year. Proposals are reviewed and scored for technical merit, relevancy, and feasibility. Proposals are awarded depending on availability of funding.  Further explanation of the review process can be found at RTE/Beamline Technical Review Process. Proposals must support the DOE Office of Nuclear Energy mission (RTE Research Areas of Interest).  

Requirements for Submitting Proposals 

  • All proposals must achieve a scientific outcome at the NSUF facility.  Therefore, proposals requesting only sample preparation and/or shipping will not be accepted.
  • A proposal may request use of only ONE institution. This excludes shipping and initial sample preparation that cannot be performed at the requested institution (e.g., sample preparation at INL for examination at IVEM is acceptable). 
  • NSUF will only support activities/shipping at or between NSUF facilities.
  • Only one principal investigator is allowed per proposal.
  • A principal investigator may submit no more than two proposals per call.
  • A principal investigator may only have three active RTE/beamline experiments. Additional proposals will not be considered.
  • Proposals involving the examination of only non-irradiated structural or cladding materials will not be accepted.
  • Proposals requiring more than nine months, from date of award, to complete work will not be accepted.
  • Proposals are open to Principal Investigators affiliated with a U.S. university, national laboratory, domestic entity or foreign entity incorporated in the U.S.  In addition, proposals from Principal Investigators not from a U.S. entity will be accepted as long as the proposal contains a collaborator who is from a U.S. university, national laboratory, domestic entity, or foreign entity incorporated in the U.S and who has 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.
  • Proposers must identify the specific source of R&D funding that will support the RTE access.
  • Proposals must include all publications that the PI and co-PIs have produced as a result of any and all NSUF (RTE, beamline, and CINR)  provided experiments or projects.
  • The proposed work should not duplicate any work currently funded by a DOE program or project.

Failure to meet the above requirements will result in disqualification of proposals.

Guidelines for RTEs and Beamline proposals

The Microscopy and Characterization Suite (MaCS) at the Center for Advanced Energy Studies

  • FEI QUANTA 3D dual beam Focused Ion Beam (FIB) with EDS/EBSD/Omniprobe
  • Cameca 4000X HR Local Electrode Atom Probe (LEAP)
  • Hysitron TI-950 Nanoindenter/Atomic Force Microscope
  • JOEL SJM-6610LV Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) with EDS/EBSD/CL
  • FEI Technai TR30-FEG STwin Scanning Transmission Electron Microscope (STEM)

Guidelines for use of these instruments:

  • FIB time is limited to six days .
  • All other instruments are limited to a maximum of 10 days (combined, not per instrument).

Other Facilities available for RTEs

Time limits for other partner instrument use are similar to the CAES MaCS guidelines. Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) MRCAT proposals may not exceed five days of beam time. IVEM beam time proposals may not exceed 10 days. High performance computing proposals cannot exceed 1 million core hours per proposal.

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. 

More Information

RTE Research Areas of Interest

RTE Review Process

Proposals can be submitted and viewed through MY NSUF on the NSUF home page.