The Department of Energy today awarded $38 million in grants to universities for generation IV nuclear energy research. Drexel is receiving $1,149,327 and Penn State $2,377,444 to further the fourth generation of nuclear power technology. I listened to WHYY’s Radio Times coming home from doing Democratic Talk Radio and listened to an esteemed scientist say this safe, efficient and a potential solution to global warming. I’m not sure but I’ll be studying the data and information. Being of an age where I vividly remember Three Mile Island and all the lies told us by the energy industry at the time concerning safety I’m a serious skeptic.
DOE says this:
The goal of this research area is to research and develop the next generation of nuclear reactors that will produce more energy and create less waste. The focus is developing new reactor technologies with higher safety, economic, and sustainability performance. The program will involve research on crosscutting technologies that will accelerate the development of advanced reactor concepts, including fuels, materials, and reactor modeling. The program also investigates small and medium-sized reactor concepts. If commercially successful, small modular reactors would significantly expand the options for nuclear power and its applications, and may prove advantageous compared to the Generation III+ nuclear plants in terms of economics, performance, and security. The research program is focused on the key technology challenges for these concepts and supports cross-cutting activities, including Modeling and Simulation, Structural Materials, Energy Conversion, Nuclear Instrumentation and Control, and Innovative Manufacturing Approaches. Project awardees in this area are below. Actual project funding will be established during contract negotiation phase.
The grants involve fuel cycle research and development, generation IV reactor research and development, light water reactor sustainability and mission-relevant investigator-initiated research. Penn State has always been a leader in nuclear research. I remember in my undergraduate days (yes, many, many moons ago) going past the University reactor.