MU professors win grants for nuclear research

Thursday, May 20, 2010 | 5:03 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Two MU professors on Thursday were awarded about $1.2 million in federal money for nuclear research.

Sudarshan Loyalka and Patrick Pinhero will each be working on projects as part of $38 million nuclear research and development projects from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Loyalka’s research will focus on improving calculations when designing reactors in order to make them safer, including shielding people from radiation as well as disposal of radioactive material.

The project will focus on “doing those calculations faster and making them more accurate,” Loyalka said.

With the estimated $541,286 he'll receive, the project will be able to support two post-graduate students.

“It’s fantastic,” Loyalka said.

Pinhero is collaborating with MU professors John Gahl and William Miller on research to improve reactor technologies. The $703,064 grant finances projects to improve safety as well as economic and sustainability performance. 

MU is one of 23 universities that received funding from the Department of Energy for nuclear research. Some of the universities will work with one another as well as industries and national laboratories over three to four years, focusing on improving nuclear education and technology.

 “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 in a news release. "These projects will help us develop the nuclear technologies of the future and move our domestic nuclear industry forward.”


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