UW-Madison: Nuclear research and development earns major DOE support

CONTACT: Michael Corradini, [email protected], 608-263-1648

MADISON – With more than $5 million in U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) funding, University of Wisconsin-Madison engineers are leading 10 cutting-edge research projects that will advance next-generation nuclear energy technologies.

Under the Nuclear Energy University Program, the DOE recently awarded three-year funding to 71 projects at 31 U.S. universities. In addition to their lead role on 10 projects, UW-Madison engineers also are collaborating with Texas A&M University on two other projects.

According to the DOE, advanced nuclear technologies research and development is key to addressing the global climate crisis and moving the nation toward greater use of nuclear energy.

Nuclear reactors are a zero-carbon energy source. The advanced reactors under development will operate much more efficiently, but at the same time must withstand higher temperatures, pressures and radiation ranges. Research in these and other areas lays the groundwork for building more efficient reactors during the next 20 years.

“The Wisconsin Institute of Nuclear Systems and the faculty and staff involved in the funded projects are uniquely positioned to provide both basic science and applied engineering research studies for generation IV nuclear reactor technologies and their associated materials and fuel cycle development,” says Michael Corradini, a UW-Madison professor and chair of engineering physics.

Drawing on the expertise of UW-Madison faculty and staff in engineering physics and materials science and engineering, the research projects fall primarily under two DOE thrusts: the advanced fuel-cycle initiative and the next-generation nuclear plant/generation IV nuclear systems. The research includes studies of nuclear fuels and fuel coatings, nuclear waste separation technology, reactor analysis, reactor cooling technologies, advanced reactor concepts, and advanced reactor materials.