The Robison Excelsior Foundation has pledged $3.2 million to Abilene Christian University’s Nuclear Energy eXperimental Testing (NEXT) Lab to address the world’s most critical needs of affordable and clean energy, pure and abundant water, and medical isotopes for diagnosing and treating cancer. This major gift brings the funding total for NEXT Lab research to date to more than $4.5 million.
“We are thrilled to be part of such groundbreaking research,” said Doug Robison, a director of the Robison Excelsior Foundation, in announcing the award. “The NEXT Project has the potential of moving ACU to a new level of research and technology development.”
NEXT’s research centers on the technology of a non-nuclear molten salt test system to support the design of a Molten Salt Research and Test Reactor. That reactor, in turn, is essential for the research, design and development of Liquid-Fueled Molten Salt Reactors, which mitigates much of the safety risk of traditional water-cooled nuclear reactors while producing usable byproducts such as clean water and radioactive isotopes used for medical imaging and treatment.
The NEXT Lab and its molten salt test loop is housed in the new Engineering and Physics Laboratories at Bennett Gymnasium, one of three science facilities constructed during ACU’s recent Vision in Action initiative.
“Having an on-site test facility provides unprecedented access for students and faculty to collaborate on cutting-edge research,” said Dr. Rusty Towell (’90), professor of engineering and physics at ACU and director of the lab. “The funding from the Robison Excelsior Foundation is instrumental in getting NEXT to its goal of addressing some of the world’s most critical needs, and we are grateful for the Robisons’ dedication and support.”
Doug and his wife, Angie, and the Robison Excelsior Foundation were recognized at Homecoming Chapel on Saturday, Oct. 13, ahead of a reception in the NEXT Lab.