WASHINGTON, D.C. — Building on President Obama’s Climate Action Plan to continue America’s leadership in clean energy innovation, the Energy Department announced on Friday over $1.6 million to Colorado universities as part of a $60 million investment in nuclear energy research and improvements to university research reactors and infrastructure.
The awards will help train and educate the next generation of leaders in America’s nuclear industry as well as support new and advanced nuclear technologies from reactor materials to innovative sensors and instruments to more efficient manufacturing.
“By supporting cutting-edge nuclear science and engineering across our universities, national labs and industry, we can strengthen the foundation for a continuing important role for nuclear energy in America’s low carbon future,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “Training and educating the next generation nuclear energy workforce plays a critical role in ensuring American leadership in the safe, secure and efficient use of nuclear power worldwide.”
According to industry estimates, the U.S. electric power industry will have to replace nearly 100,000 workers — more than 25,000 of them in the nuclear industry – by 2015. In the next few years, about 30 percent of nuclear energy industry workers, many of whom joined the field in the 1960s and 1970s, will be eligible for retirement. Since 2009, the Energy Department’s Nuclear Energy University Programs have awarded approximately $290 million to nearly 90 colleges and universities to train the next generation of nuclear engineers and scientists in the United States and continue American leadership in clean energy innovation.
In all, the U.S. Energy Department is awarding nearly $42 million to support 61 university-led nuclear energy research and development projects to develop innovative technologies and solutions across three fields: Fuel Cycle Technologies; Reactor Concepts Research, Development & Demonstration; and Nuclear Energy Advanced Modeling & Simulation. As part of this broader investment, Colorado School of Mines and University of Colorado-Boulder were awarded about $800,000 each for two fuel cycle technologies projects.
Through its Nuclear Energy University Programs, the Energy Department is also awarding approximately $5 million to 15 colleges and universities to support research reactor and infrastructure improvements — helping to upgrade the country’s existing fleet of research reactors and make them more efficient and in line with industry advances. Colorado School of Mines was awarded $38,528 to help ensure that it has the best equipment and tools available to educate and train the next generation of industry leaders.