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USC Engineering Researchers Receive DOE Nuclear Energy Grants

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COLUMBIA, SC – Researchers in the University of South Carolina’s College of Engineering and Computing have received two grants, worth more than US$1 million each, from the U.S. Department of Energy for research and development in nuclear energy. USC is one of 42 universities selected for the grants from the DOE’s Nuclear Energy University Program.
Dr. Fanglin Chen, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering, received $1.36 million to study issues related to tritium sequestration in next-generation energy systems. Chen, the principal investigator, will collaborate with fellow USC researcher Dr. Kenneth Reifsnider and researchers from Claflin University, Georgia Tech and the Savannah River National Laboratory.
Dr. Djamel Kaoumi, an assistant professor of nuclear engineering, will collaborate on a $1.32 million project with the University of California-Berkeley. The project is a combined modeling and experimental investigation of microstructure evolution in advanced fuel cladding for the next generation of nuclear systems. Researchers from Penn State and the University of Wisconsin also are involved.
The grants are part of a $38 million DOE program to fund, over three to four years, advances in nuclear education and development of next-generation nuclear technologies that would include improvements in reactor efficiency, and reduce the amount of used fuel requiring disposal or recycling.
Also in nuclear engineering, USC received a $381,046 award from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The award, from the NRC’s Fellowship Program, will support two graduate students for four years. Travis Knight, assistant professor and acting director of the nuclear engineering program, is the principal investigator for the grant.
This follows other NRC awards for faculty development in 2008 ($375,000) and the scholarship program award in 2009 ($70,000).

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