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Professor Yongho Sohn and Professor Kevin R. Coffey received a $700,000, three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Energy for a research project titled “Mechanisms of Retention and Transport of Fission Products in Virgin and Irradiated Nuclear Graphite.” Through this project, Sohn and Coffey will examine how the fission products are retained and transported through graphite before and after neutron irradiation in order to help develop Tristructural-Isotropic (TRISO) nuclear fuel that, compared to current technology, can double the fuel efficiency, reduce the waste by more than 80%, and most importantly, be self-contained in case of accidents. Mechanistic understanding of atomic configuration and diffusion process will also contribute to the overall appreciation of carbon that can exist in various forms such as graphite, graphine, diamond, fullerene, and nanotubes.

This project is funded through the DoE’s Consolidated Innovative Nuclear Research and Nuclear Energy University programs. It will be carried out in partnership with Jacob Eapen and K.L. Murty from North Carolina State University, and in collaboration with Anne Campbell from Oak Ridge National Laboratory, as well as Abbie Jones, Clint Sharrad and Barry Marsden from the University of Manchester.