The Department of energy announced on Monday a $12 million investment on nuclear research, aimed to improve data quality; some of the approaches include Artificial Intelligence, machine self-learning and isotope production.
Three DOE’s offices have teamed up for this effort: the Office of Nuclear Physics, DOE’s Isotope program; and the Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation. Science development and national security are two of the main pillars of this new coordination effort with the Nuclear Data Interagency Working Group.
As we said, some of the topics to be considered for this new nuclear research hub are artificial intelligence and machine self-learning, to improve data curation; experiments with cross-cutting applications, nuclear non-proliferation; production of radioactive and non-radioactive isotopes, and new technologies for identifying nuclear contraband via gamma rays.
Dr. Chris Fall, Director of DOE’s Office of Science, said about the investment: “Increasingly, precise data on the properties of atomic nuclei are central to enabling groundbreaking advances in medicine, commerce, and national security.”
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“This nuclear research program targets cross-cutting opportunities to enhance the curation of existing nuclear data archives as well as research to lay the groundwork for new applications in areas of national need,” he concluded.
Universities, national laboratories and nonprofit organizations are eligible to apply for this federal capital expenditure. According to DOE, funding will be awarded competitively, based on peer review. Grants would be awarded annually, starting from $1 million for the current fiscal year.
The total $12 million will be exercised in the beginning of fiscal year 2021.
This is not the first time the DOE invest heavily on nuclear developments. In late October, through a DOE activities report, we knew that the United States is in the forefront of a Liquified Natural gas, and a nuclear energy revolution. As the sector seeks cleaner alternatives for energy, nuclear has become one important option.
In this regard, in late October the department announced a $160 million investment for the development of new nuclear reactor designs. TerraPower LLC and X-energy were the companies selected for the developments that would be operational within a seven years range.