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NC State Tops in Nuclear Grants

NC State was awarded $5.9 million in recent federal grants for nuclear energy research – more than any other university.

The total represents 13.5 percent of Department of Energy (DOE) funding that Secretary Steven Chu announced last month. NC State received seven of 71 grants for Nuclear Energy University Programs.

Six of those grants will go to the Department of Nuclear Engineering, which rose to fifth place this year in U.S. News and World Report’s national ranking of nuclear engineering graduate programs.

Nuclear research has been a cornerstone of NC State engineering since 1953, when the university began operating the nation’s first public research nuclear reactor.

The grants will boost research and increase opportunities to involve students in leading-edge projects, said Dr. Yousry Azmy, department head. Eight students will receive $5,000 scholarships for one year, funded by the DOE.

The grants support a federal initiative to improve nuclear energy production and management.

“These awards are designed to educate future nuclear scientists and engineers who will address, and hopefully resolve, these challenges, thereby retaining the U.S. lead role in the field of nuclear energy,” Azmy said.

At NC State, the grants will support research on nuclear power plant design, thermal neutron scattering and new algorithms for reactor physics calculations.

“These awards also give NC State’s program higher visibility in the local and global community while raising its profile among potential sponsors of future research projects,” Azmy said.

“These seven nuclear energy research awards are a tribute to the outstanding quality of our engineering faculty and will significantly enhance NC State’s leadership role in providing solutions to the nation’s energy challenges,” said Dr. Louis A. Martin-Vega, dean of the College of Engineering.

Faculty members in Nuclear Engineering have won major awards this year.

Professor Robin Gardner received the 2009 Arthur Holly Compton Award from the American Nuclear Society. Professor Paul Turinsky was elected chair of the National University Collaborators, a partner in the consortium that manages the Idaho National Laboratory for the U.S. Department of Energy. Dr. Ayman Hawari,  professor of nuclear engineering and director of NC State’s Nuclear Reactor Program, was appointed by royal decree as Commissioner for Nuclear Reactors with the Jordan Atomic Energy Commission.

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