NRL Projects Awarded CINR FY22 Funding

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On June 17th, 2022 the U.S. Department of Energy Awarded $61 Million in Nuclear Energy Projects at U.S. Universities, Industry, and National Laboratories

NRL Projects Awarded CINR FY22 Funding
Taylor Tracy, NRL

Four projects led by or in collaboration with NRL staff received awards from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Consolidated Innovative Nuclear Research (CINR) FY22 funding opportunity. 74 projects at more than 40 U.S. universities received funding to accelerate R&D, strengthen infrastructure, and provide career opportunities. Awarded proposals met one or more of the criteria for funding:

  1. Enhancing the long-term viability and competitiveness of the existing U.S. reactor fleet;
  2. Developing an advanced reactor pipeline; and,
  3. Implementing and maintaining the national strategic fuel cycle and supply chain infrastructure

The NRL received project funding awards in the Integrated Research Projects (IRP), Nuclear Science User Facilities (NSUF), and Scientific Infrastructure categories. An IRP with the NRL’s Dr. David Carpenter as the PI was the sole CINR FY22 project to receive the $5,000,000 award ceiling.

This project will study accident tolerant fuel (ATF) cladding performance while under radiation at the MITR, with 13 collaborators at leading institutions and ATF fabricators. It will also provide unique hands-on training for the next generation of nuclear engineers on nuclear fuel R&D.

Integrated Research Projects:

  1. Understanding of ATF Cladding Performance under Radiation using MITR ($5,000,000) 
    PI: David Carpenter (MIT-NRL); Collaborators: Koroush Shirvan (MIT-NSE), Gary Was and Kevin Field (University of Michigan), Arthur Motta (Pennsylvania State University), Peng Xu (Idaho National Laboratory), Sean Gray (Framatome), Andrew Hoffman (GE Research), Edward Lahoda and Zeses Karoutas (Westinghouse), Lucas Borowski (General Atomics), Farhad Mohammadi-Koumleh (Ceramic Tubular Products), Martin Ševeček (Czech Technical University)

    The objective of this proposal is to study ATF (Accident Tolerant Fuel) Cladding performance under radiation in collaboration with leading institutions and all major U.S. ATF vendors. The project will provide unique hands-on training for the next generation of nuclear engineers on nuclear fuel R&D, which is at the heart of nuclear energy technology development.

  2. Reduction, Mitigation, and Disposal Strategies for the Graphite Waste of High Temperature Reactors ($3,000,000) 
    PI: Lance Snead (Stony Brook University); Co-Leads: Haruko Wainright (MIT-NSE), Raluca Scarlat UC-Berkeley. Collaborators: Charles Forsberg (MIT-NSE), Koroush Shirvan (MIT-NSE), Tony Zheng (MIT-NRL)

    This project intends to develop economically attractive and environmentally sound irradiated graphite waste management strategies resulting in specific and significant cost savings for advanced nuclear systems. This will be achieved through a combined modeling, analysis, technology development, and disposal science and regulatory studies campaign.


  1. Integrated Effects of Irradiation and Flibe Salt on Fuel Pebble and Structural Graphite Materials for Molten Salt Reactors
    PI: Gabriel Meric, Chong Chen, Kevin Chan, Kairos Power; Collaborators: Gordon Kohse (MIT-NRL), Lin-Wen Hu (MIT-NRL), David Carpenter (MIT-NRL)

    This project will investigate the irradiation response of the Flibe/fuel pebble carbon matrix and Flibe/structural graphite systems with a focus on salt infiltration and its effect on microstructure for molten salt reactor applications. The objectives are to quantify the irradiation-induced changes in Flibe infiltration behavior and quantify the influence of infiltration under irradiation on microstructure and mechanical properties.

Scientific Infrastructure

  1. Microscale PIE Tools for Expanding the Scientific Impact of the MIT Reactor ($156,000)
    PI: Michael Short (MIT-NSE); Collaborators: Gordon Kohse (MIT-NRL), David Carpenter (MIT-NRL)

    The MIT Nuclear Reactor Lab (NRL) seeks to purchase a Flash Differential Scanning Calorimeter, to enable a greatly increased scientific output from all materials used in the MIT reactor and throughout the NSUF network. The FlashDSC-2 allows thermal analysis up to 1000C, enabling the direct measurement of Wigner energy (radiation defects) for defect reaction analysis and quantification, which has major implications for correlating radiation effects from neutrons and ions.