Home Research funding MSU professors awarded $ 1.6 million for two nuclear energy research projects

MSU professors awarded $ 1.6 million for two nuclear energy research projects

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Contact: James Carskadon

Zhenhua Tian (Photo by Kristen Polk)

STARKVILLE, Mississippi — Faculty members in the Aerospace Engineering and Geosciences at Mississippi State University advance nuclear power technology with $ 1.6 million in funding from the US Department of Energy for two separate projects.

Assistant professor of aerospace engineering Zhenhua Tian is a senior researcher for a $ 800,000 grant to develop and validate wireless ultrasonic sensor networks for real-time monitoring of welded dry containers that store spent nuclear fuel. Rinat Gabitov, associate professor in the Department of Geosciences, is receive $ 800,000 for a project to improve the functionality of engineered barrier systems by adding phosphate minerals to backfill mixtures, potentially improving sorption / absorption of radionuclides by materials in water failure scenarios.

The grants are part of 99 advanced nuclear power projects recently announced by the DoE as part of the federal agency’s efforts to strengthen the resilience and use of nuclear power, the nation’s largest source of energy without carbon.

Studio portrait of Rinat Gobitav
Rinat Gabitov (Photo by Russ Houston)

“Nuclear power is essential to America’s clean energy future and we are committed to making it a more accessible, affordable and resilient energy solution for communities across the country,” said the Secretary of Energy. Jennifer M. Granholm. “At DOE, we are not only investing in the country’s current nuclear fleet, but we are also investing in the scientists and engineers who develop and deploy the next generation of advanced nuclear technologies that will reduce the amount of carbon pollution, create good -pay for energy jobs and achieve our carbon-free goals. “

Collaborators on the Tian project include Junbo Zhao, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at MSU, as well as researchers from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Intelligent Automation, Inc., and Orano Federal Services, LLC. The researchers aim to overcome the many challenges associated with using external sensors to monitor spent nuclear fuel containers, such as high temperatures, radiation, thick walls of cartridges, and limited access to detection areas.

Gabitov’s project will be carried out in collaboration with researchers from the University of Alabama and the Los Alamos National Laboratory. The project aims to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of backfill mixtures and to advance current knowledge on the mineralogical and geochemical aspects essential to the remediation of the nuclear environment.

“MSU has a long history of leading innovative energy research and preparing graduates to excel in energy-related careers,” said Julie Jordan, MSU’s vice president of research and economic development. “These awards given to Dr Tian and Dr Gabitov reflect their individual expertise and the dynamic way MSU researchers are contributing to the creation of an energy secure future.”

MSU’s Aerospace Engineering Department is part of the university’s James Worth Bagley College of Engineering. To learn more, visit www.ae.msstate.edu.

The Department of Geosciences is part of the College of Arts and Sciences. To learn more, visit www.geosciences.msstate.edu.

MSU is Mississippi’s premier university, available online at www.msstate.edu.

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