Grad students win fuel cycle research awards

CANYON, Texas – Two WSU graduate students have won awards in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Innovations in Fuel Cycle Research Awards competition.
Jenifer Shafer, a Ph.D. student in chemistry, was awarded the second place prize in the “Fuel Separations and Waste Forms” division. Shafer’s award was based upon her research paper titled, “Partitioning of U, Np, Th and Eu Between Acidic Aqueous Al(NO3)3 Solutions and Various TOPO Extraction Chromatographic Materials,” which was presented at the Actinides Scientific Conference in July 2009.
Travis Grimes, a Ph.D. student in inorganic/radiochemistry, was awarded an honorable mention in the open competition. Grimes’ award was based upon his research paper titled, “Lactic Acid Partitioning in TALSPEAK Extraction Systems,” which was published in the journal Separation Science and Technology in January 2010.
The Innovations in Fuel Cycle Research Awards program supports the DOE’s goal to reduce CO2 emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050 as well as the Office of Nuclear Energy’s goal to develop a sustainable nuclear fuel cycle.
The United States has one of the highest per capita uses of electricity in the world and one the highest total CO2 (greenhouse gas) emissions. Electricity generation produces about 40 percent of the nation’s CO2 emissions, transportation about 33 percent, and industrial use of fossil fuels about 16 percent.
Some scientists believe that to achieve energy security and greenhouse gas emission reduction objectives, the United States must develop and deploy clean, affordable, domestic energy sources as quickly as possible.
Nuclear power plants emit zero CO2 and represent more than 70 percent of U.S. carbon-free electricity generation. Nuclear power will continue to be a key component of a portfolio of technologies that meets U.S. energy goals.
The academic community helps to develop the advanced nuclear technology that will help sustain and further expand nuclear power in the United States.
In addition to cash awards, winning students will have a variety of other opportunities, including participating in an Innovators’ Forum and participating in the DOE’s annual Fuel Cycle R&D meeting.
The DOE awarded 30 prizes in the 2010 Innovations in Fuel Cycle Research Awards program. Winning students published or presented technical papers relevant to the nuclear fuel cycle.
The program is designed to: 1) award graduate and undergraduate students for innovative fuel-cycle-relevant research publications, 2) demonstrate the Office of Fuel Cycle Technologies’ commitment to higher education in fuel-cycle-relevant disciplines, and 3) support communications among students and DOE representatives.
For more information on the DOE program, visit For more information on DOE’s nuclear energy programs, visit:  For more information on the Innovations in Fuel Cycle Research Awards program, visit