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Department of Energy Awards $510,000 to Grad Students Under Advanced Fuel Cycle Initiative

Off the wire from the Department of Energy:
To help meet the growing demand for nuclear-educated scientists and engineers, and to build upon President Bush’s American Competitiveness Initiative, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced it will award a total of $510,000 in fellowships to 12 graduate students who are studying the nuclear fuel cycle. Each fellowship is valued at $42,500 and was awarded under the Advanced Fuel Cycle Initiative (AFCI) - a program within DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy - geared toward looking at ways to close the nuclear fuel cycle and recycle components of used nuclear reactor fuel.

“These fellowships help further President Bush's American Competitiveness Initiative by providing our next generation with the education and skills necessary to compete in today’s global marketplace,” DOE Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy Dennis Spurgeon said. “We congratulate these fellows, and are thrilled that some of the nation’s best and brightest students from U.S. graduate schools are committed to studying the fuel cycle, an area critical to the growth of the nuclear industry.”

AFCI fellowships are awarded to students who plan to pursue research in technical areas related to the GNEP program, including the separation of nuclear waste components, the fabrication of these components into recycled fuel, and the preparation of new waste forms with increased long-term stability. AFCI supports DOE’s recently announced Global Nuclear Energy Partnership, designed to support the expansion of nuclear power in the world by reducing the risks of weapons proliferation, and increasing the efficiency of waste recycling programs.

Selected fellows are all pursuing master’s degrees in nuclear and related engineering disciplines, and were selected from a pool of 130 applicants. Fellowships will last 18 months. This summer, the new AFCI fellows will visit DOE Headquarters in Washington to become better acquainted with the AFCI program, and many will have summer jobs at DOE national laboratories before entering graduate school in the fall.

Selected AFCI fellows include:

  • Nicholas Cunningham, University of California – Santa Barbara, mechanical engineering
  • Brandon Distler, University of Missouri – Rolla, nuclear engineering
  • Jason Haas, University of Michigan, nuclear engineering and radiological engineering
  • Brian Hehr, North Carolina State University, nuclear engineering
  • Brian Jaques, Boise State University, material science and engineering
  • McLean Machut, University of Wisconsin – Madison, nuclear engineering and engineering physics
  • Paul Mews, Texas A&M University, nuclear engineering
  • Steve Mullet, University of California – Berkeley, nuclear engineering
  • Christopher Orton, Ohio State University, nuclear engineering
  • Robert Petroski, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, nuclear engineering
  • Christopher Sommer, Georgia Institute of Technology, nuclear engineering
  • Joshua Van Meter, Kansas State University, nuclear engineering
Congratulations to all the winners. For more on GNEP, click here.

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