News Release

UT leads $25M nuclear technology consortium

Grant and Award Announcement

University of Tennessee at Knoxville

UT Leads $25M Nuclear Technology Consortium


UT Leads $25M Nuclear Technology Consortium

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Credit: University of Tennessee, Knoxville

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is the lead institution for a $25 million cooperative agreement awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation to support research that underlies its nuclear security and nonproliferation missions.

The Enabling Capabilities in Technology Consortium will receive approximately $5 million a year for five years. Scheduled to begin in March 2025, it includes funding for 35 graduate and 26 undergraduate researchers each year with the potential to support additional students.

“This new consortium funded by the Department of Energy will lead advances in global security, clean energy and artificial intelligence that are especially critical to our nation and our world at this time,” said Jason Hayward, UCOR Fellow and professor of nuclear engineering at UT and the director of the consortium’s executive team. “In particular, our efforts will help produce the new knowledge and the diverse talented workforce necessary to enable the U.S. and its allies to safely and securely triple nuclear power output throughout the world by 2050 and respond to emerging threats in space.”

Enabling Capabilities in Technology Consortium Research

The consortium’s main research thrusts are fundamental science in earth, environmental, atmospheric and space science; radio and nuclear chemistry; and applied science and engineering in areas of nuclear chemical engineering, advanced nuclear fuel systems engineering and reactor systems engineering. Connecting those thrusts are three cross-cutting areas: detection, characterization and response methodologies and tools; data science for nuclear nonproliferation; and education and training. Education and training in the first thematic area will leverage UT’s new bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering — the first such degree program in Tennessee.

“The state of Tennessee and the University of Tennessee have made outstanding investments in faculty and facilities over many years to enable us to be recognized as a leading institution in academic research and in the education of the future technical talent of the U.S. national laboratories and other nuclear-related fields,” said Hayward. “In particular, UT’s Tickle College of Engineering has continued to attract many great people and to increase the breadth of its technical capabilities. This exciting success is evidence of its steady upward climb in prominence, impact and ranking.”

Consortium Partners

The consortium includes 15 universities and eight national laboratories. Other schools in the consortium are the Air Force Institute of Technology; Clemson University; the Colorado School of Mines; Louisiana State University; the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; North Carolina State University; Oregon State University; Texas A&M University; the University of California, Santa Barbara; the University of Hawai’i; the University of Oklahoma; the University of Texas at San Antonio; the University of Utah; and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Eight national laboratories are involved: Idaho National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories and Savannah River National Laboratory.

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