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First U.S.-Israeli Energy Independence Grant Will Focus on Self-Sustainable Fuel Cycles for Light Water Reactors at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

First U.S.-Israeli Energy Independence Grant Will Focus on Self-Sustainable Fuel Cycles for Light Water Reactors at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

December 30, 2009

Alternative Energy, Press Releases

NEW YORK, July 15, 2010 – Dr. Eugene Shwageraus, a researcher from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) in Israel, has been awarded a U.S.-Israel Energy Independence Partnership Grant by the U. S.–Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSF). Dr. Shwageraus, along with his research partner Dr. Michael Todosow of the Brookhaven National Laboratory in Long Island, New York, are working on developing a self-sustainable fuel cycle for light water reactors.

The use of nuclear energy will inevitably need to be expanded as a part of the balanced, carbon-emissions-constrained future energy mix alongside the use of renewable energy sources. Current generation light water-cooled nuclear reactors (LWRs) that are cooled and moderated using ordinary water tend to be simpler and cheaper to build than other types of nuclear reactors. They make up the vast majority of civil nuclear reactors and naval propulsion reactors in service throughout the world.

Currently, in order to improve utilization of natural resources, nuclear energy is generated by complex and costly fast breeder reactors (FBR) that can produce new fissile fuel at a rate equal to or higher than that at which the reactor consumes it. “Implementing this kind of self-sustainable operation would eliminate the need for uranium enrichment and would greatly improve the resource utilization,” said Dr. Eugene Shwageraus.

The project will address the issue of global energy resource availability by investigating the potential of using known LWR technology in combination with a self-sustainable thorium fuel cycle. Reactors that operate in a self-sustainable thorium fuel cycle can be designed by using existing and well-proven LWR technology. The abundance of thorium in the Earth’s crust is estimated to be at least three times that of uranium and will, therefore; extend the available energy resources.

Dr. Shwageraus of BGU’s Department of Nuclear Engineering earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees in nuclear engineering at BGU and completed his Ph.D. in nuclear engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

The BSF US-Israel Energy Independence Partnership Grants enable leading scientists from Israel and the United States to work together on projects focused on one of the most vital issues facing our world today – the quest for alternative and renewable energy solutions. The initiative awarded $1.2 million in funding for six projects that address energy-related goals in solar energy, biofuels and clean, safe nuclear energy. Supported by the Israeli Ministry of National Infrastructures, these projects are the first phase of a multi-year program.

About American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (AABGU) plays a vital role in sustaining David Ben-Gurion’s vision: creating a world-class institution of education and research in the Israeli desert, nurturing the Negev community and sharing the University’s expertise locally and around the globe. Activities include showcasing BGU’s academic excellence and cutting-edge research through educational programs, events and informative communications. AABGU’s main purpose is to support Ben-Gurion’s vision and the university that bears his name by creating a community of Americans committed to improving the world tomorrow from the heart of the Israeli desert today.

Media Contact:
Andrew Lavin
A. Lavin Communications