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Idaho National Laboratory researchers awarded $3.8 million, program renewals confirmed

November 21, 2022

By Tiera Cate

Idaho National Laboratory researchers have won funding from one of the nation’s largest sponsors of research in the natural sciences. At $3.8 million over three years, it is one of the largest Department of Energy Office of Science’s Basic Energy Sciences (DOE-BES) awards given to INL researchers. 

INL researchers Gregory Horne, Ruchi Gakhar, Jacy Conrad and Trishelle Copeland-Johnson, along with Simerjeet Gill from Brookhaven National Laboratory received a Clean Energy grant from the DOE-BES program. The program supports basic research that underpins a broad range of energy technologies.  

Gregory Horne
Ruchi Gakhar
Jacy Conrad
Jacy Conrad
TrishelleCopeland Johnson
Trishelle Copeland-Johnson
Simerjeet Gill

The funding will support studies leveraging state-of-the-art irradiation facilities, characterization techniques and high-performance computing. The goal of this project is to understand and predict the radiation-induced behavior of iodine in molten salts over varying times and distances. 

In addition to the BES award, three Energy Frontier Research Centers involving INL were renewed: the INL-led Center for Thermal Energy Transport under Irradiation, the Brookhaven National Laboratory-led Molten Salts in Extreme Environments, and the University of Utah-led Multi-scale Fluid-Solid Interactions in Architected and Natural Materials (MUSE). 

These projects were selected through a competitive process under two funding opportunities open to universities, national laboratories, industry and other research organizations. 


Idaho National Laboratory’s Center for Radiation Chemistry Research (Idaho Falls, Idaho) will investigate the radiation-induced behavior of iodine in molten salts. This supports the Chemical and Materials Sciences to Advance Clean Energy Technologies and Low-Carbon Manufacturing initiative supported by the DOE-BES. 

Title: Understand and Predict Radiation-Induced Iodine Speciation, Chemistry, and Transport in High-Temperature Molten Salts 

Researchers: Gregory Horne, Jacy Conrad, Trishelle Copeland-Johnson, Ruchi Gakhar and Simerjeet Gill (Brookhaven National Laboratory) 

INL Funding/Schedule: $3.8 million over three years (new award) 

Idaho National Laboratory (Idaho Falls, Idaho) brings together an internationally recognized, multi-institutional team of experimentalists and computational materials theorists to develop a thorough understanding of phonon and electron transport in advanced nuclear fuels. 

Title: Thermal Energy Transport under Irradiation 

Researcher: David Hurley 

INL Funding: $12.5 million (renewal) 

Brookhaven National Laboratory (Upton, New York) will investigate the fundamental chemistry of molten salts in bulk and at interface, under temperature and radiation extremes in support of the Energy Frontier Research Center initiative. The team leverages unique expertise and capabilities at three national laboratories and six partnering universities.  

Title: Molten Salts in Extreme Environments 

Researchers: Ruchi Gakhar, Gregory Horne and Simon Pimblott 

INL Funding: $2.7 million over four years (renewal) 

University of Utah (Salt Lake City, Utah) will work to develop a new fundamental understanding and models of the transport and properties of fluids confined by porous media. This is done by integrating experimental and theoretical methods. These include advanced microscopy imaging and physics-based modeling of hierarchical and natural nanostructured materials with varying levels of physical and chemical properties. 

Title: Multi-scale Fluid-Solid Interactions in Architected and Natural Materials 

Researchers: Yidong Xia and Darryl Butt (from the University of Utah) 

INL Funding: $150,000 (renewal) 


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About Idaho National Laboratory

Battelle Energy Alliance manages INL for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy. INL is the nation’s center for nuclear energy research and development, celebrating 75 years of scientific innovations in 2024. The laboratory performs research in each of DOE’s strategic goal areas: energy, national security, science and the environment. 

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Posted November 21, 2022

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