McDeavitt receives ATR NSUF experiment award

Dr. Sean McDeavitt, assistant professor in the Department of Nuclear Engineering at Texas A&M University, was selected to lead one of the five new university-led research projects at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) Advanced Test Reactor National Scientific User Facility (ATR NSUF).Dr. Sean McDeavittThis highly regarded opportunity grants McDeavitt and his research team, which will include students and researchers from the Lightbridge Corp., full access at no cost to the Advanced Test Reactor - one of the world's premier research reactors - and other INL resources.""It's very exciting to be selected for this program," McDeavitt said. "The primary goal of this project is to continue the development of the advanced fuel design created by Lightbridge. On the other hand, I believe the that the students will be the biggest winners."McDeavitt said that the Advanced Test Reactor National Scientific User Facility is one of the few remaining centers where active radiation performance testing may be accomplished. The work will provide the students with experience, knowledge and information that will transcend the mission of the project."The graduate and undergraduate students working in Texas A&M's Fuel Cycle and Materials Laboratory will participate and observe this irradiation test program and gain unique capabilities that are not available anywhere else in the United States," McDeavitt said. "As an educator, I will be able to translate the experience and results into the classroom. Everybody wins."The research proposal, "Irradiation Behavior and Performance of a Uranium-Zirconium Metal Alloy Fuel," plans to demonstrate and characterize the performance of the uranium-zirconium metal alloy fuel for thermal reactors. It will be one of the first experiments since the inception of the program in 2007 to insert fuel into the reactor. The research project is anticipated to take four years to complete during which the research team, along with scientists from INL, will design, prepare and insert the experiment into the reactor, conduct the experiment and analyze the results.In addition to Texas A&M, research teams from Boise State, University of Central Florida, University of Michigan and Drexel University will conduct new research experiments at the facility. The selected projects are all nuclear energy experiments designed to advance research in nuclear fuels and help extend the lifetime of structural components in nuclear systems. INL is the nation's leading center for nuclear energy research and development.