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Idaho State University researcher wins $500,000 grant

Wen HaimingHaiming Wen, a researcher at Idaho State University’s Center for Advanced Energy Studies, has received  a $500,000 grant to improve the strength and irradiation resistance of metals used in nuclear reactors.

Wen, an assistant research professor at ISU and a staff scientist at the INL, and his INL collaborators are aiming to extend the life of the reactors being used now. The irradiation performance of materials is critical to nuclear reactors. Wen will work with an ISU graduate student and INL scientists James Cole, Isabella Van Rooeyn and Yongfeng Zhang on the project. The grant comes from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy.

The researchers will be developing “nanostructures,” tiny structures between the size of microscopic and molecular structures, that could improve the performance of conventionally used materials used in building reactors.

“In the whole world there are only a few places you can perform neutron irradiation testing of materials, and the most important one is the Advanced Test Reactor at the INL,” Wen said. “It is very exciting to get this opportunity for neutron irradiation.”

The grant also includes $2.4 million that will go to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Nuclear Science User Facilities.

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