Clemson University researchers are well positioned to make new breakthroughs in nuclear energy technology after receiving a collection of awards from the U.S. Department of Energy. 

Three awards fund research, and one funds new scientific equipment. The awards are expected to advance safe storage of nuclear waste and have applications in the areas of advanced materials, sustainable environment, transportation and advanced manufacturing. 

Those receiving grants for nuclear energy research include (from left): Brian Powell, Ming Tang and Jianhua “Joshua” Tong.

Those receiving grants for nuclear energy research include (from left): Brian Powell, Ming Tang and Jianhua “Joshua” Tong.

The Energy Department is providing funding for the projects through the Nuclear Energy University Program. Altogether, the Clemson projects are receiving $2.3 million out of $55 million granted to universities across the country, underscoring Clemson’s leadership in nuclear-energy research.

The principal investigators and their projects are: 

Brian Powell, Fjeld Professor in Nuclear Environmental Engineering and Science in the Department of Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences (two awards):

  • Developing a thermochemical database of radionuclide reactions at the mineral-water interface for improved nuclear waste repository performance assessment
  • Quantifying radionuclide sorption to engineering barrier materials under elevated temperature and ionic strength conditions

Ming Tang, associate professor of materials science and engineering:

  • Optimizing melt processed phosphate glass waste forms via composition-property-structure correlations

Jianhua “Joshua” Tong, associate professor of materials science and engineering:

  • High-speed thermogravimetry equipped with mass spectrometry for thermodynamic and kinetic study of nuclear energy materials