UNLV is one of just 23 universities nationwide to earn funding under a U.S. Department of Energy program to advance nuclear energy sciences. UNLV research teams were awarded more than $1.4 million.
"We are taking action to restart the nuclear industry as part of a broad approach to cut carbon pollution and create new clean energy jobs," U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu said when announcing the awards.
UNLV chemistry professor Paul Forster is leading one team focused on minimizing the amount of radioactive gases that must be stored when processing spent nuclear fuel. The team hopes to separate xenon -- a useful and stable byproduct -- from the radioactive gases that must be stored. Forster's collaborators include fellow chemistry professors Ken Czerwinski and Balakrishnan Naduvalath.
Engineering professor Yingtao Jiang's team is developing sensors to better measure the flow of liquid or gas coolant in a nuclear reactor. Extreme radiation and temperature levels inside a reactor make it difficult for existing measurement tools to function, a problem that could affect reactor performance. Jian Ma, a research professor in the College of Engineering and Harry Reid Center for Environmental Studies, will work with Jiang on the grant.