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Please Note that a Letter of Intent is due Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Program Area Overview


The Office of Basic Energy Sciences (BES) supports fundamental research to understand, predict, and ultimately control matter and energy at the electronic, atomic, and molecular levels in order to provide the foundations for new energy technologies and to support DOE missions in energy, environment, and national security. The results of BES-supported research are routinely published in the open literature.

A key function of the program is to plan, construct, and operate premier scientific user facilities for the development of novel nanomaterials and for materials and chemical characterization through x-ray and neutron scattering; the former is accomplished through five Nanoscale Science Research Centers and the latter is accomplished through the world's largest suite of light source and neutron scattering facilities. These national resources are available free of charge to all researchers based on the quality and importance of proposed nonproprietary experiments.

A major objective of the BES program is to promote the transfer of the results of our basic research to advance and create technologies important to Department of Energy (DOE) missions in areas of energy efficiency, renewable energy resources, improved use of fossil fuels, the mitigation of the adverse impacts of energy production and use, and future nuclear energy sources. The following set of technical topics represents one important mechanism by which the BES program augments its system of university and laboratory research programs and integrates basic science, applied research, and development activities within the DOE.

For additional information regarding the Office of Basic Energy Sciences priorities, click here.



Maximum Phase I Award Amount: $150,000

Maximum Phase II Award Amount: $1,000,000

Accepting SBIR Applications: YES

Accepting STTR Applications: YES

To achieve energy security and greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction objectives, the United States must develop and deploy clean, affordable, domestic energy sources as quickly as possible. Nuclear power will continue to be a key component of a portfolio of technologies that meets our energy goals. Nuclear Energy R&D activities are organized along four main R&D objectives that address challenges to expanding the use of nuclear power: (1) develop technologies and other solutions that can improve the reliability, sustain the safety, and extend the life of current reactors; (2) develop improvements in the affordability of new reactors to enable nuclear energy to help meet the Administration's energy security and climate change goals; (3) develop sustainable nuclear fuel cycles; and (4) understanding and minimization of risks of nuclear proliferation and terrorism.

To support these objectives, the Department of Energy is seeking to advance engineering materials for service in nuclear reactors.


Grant applications are sought in the following subtopics:

a. Specialty Steels and Alloys

Grant applications are sought to develop improvements in radiation-resistant, high-temperature steels and alloys with practical applications for Generation IV reactor systems, such as high-temperature gas- or liquid-cooled systems at 400-850°C. In general, this will be interpreted to mean that those materials which have improved creep strength can be formed and joined, are compatible with one or more high-temperature reactor coolants, and could reasonably be expected to eventually receive ASME Section III qualification for use in nuclear construction.

Questions – Contact: William Corwin,


b. Ceramic Composites

Grant applications are sought to develop improved design and fabrication methods targeted at reducing cost and/or allowing joining of nuclear-grade SiC-SiC composites that can be used in the Generation IV gas-cooled and liquid fluoride salt-cooled reactors at temperatures up to 850°C. Additional consideration will be given to proposals for SiC-SiC materials and forms that are also compatible for use as fuel cladding. 32

Questions – Contact: William Corwin,


c. In Situ Mitigation and Repair of Materials Degradation

Grant applications are sought to develop technologies for the in situ mitigation and repair of materials degradation in Light Water Reactor systems and components, in order to extend the service life of current light water reactors. Approaches of interest include new techniques for the repair of materials degradation in metals, concrete, and cables; and methods that can mitigate irradiation and aging effects in existing reactors and components.

Questions – Contact: Sue Lesica,


d. Other

In addition to the specific subtopics listed above, the Department invites grant applications in other areas that fall within the scope of the topic description above.

Questions – Contact: Sue Lesica,



1.     U.S. Department of Energy, 2010, Nuclear Energy Research and Development Roadmap, Report to Congress. (


2.     U.S. DOE Office of Nuclear Energy, Science and Technology, Fuel Cycle Research and Development Program. (


3.     U.S. DOE Office of Nuclear Energy, Science and Technology, Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems, Nuclear Reactor Technologies. (


4.     Greene, S.R., et al., 2010, Pre-Conceptual Design of a Fluoride-Salt-Cooled Small Modular Advanced High Temperature Reactor (SmAHTR), Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN. ORNL/TM-2010/199 (


5.     U.S. DOE Office of Nuclear Energy, Light Water Reactor Sustainability (LWRS) Program. (

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