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NEXT Lab provides extraordinary opportunities for students of all disciplines to be involved in solving some really big world problems. Students from a variety of majors are important partners in supporting the research, including engineering, physics, chemistry, biochemistry, computer science, mathematics and more. See how your major can fit into this exciting research.
Which majors can carry out research through the NEXT Lab?
What type of research is taking place at the NEXT Lab?
Students and faculty are working together in NEXT Lab to design, license and build a molten salt research reactor.
Two key technologies of these advanced reactors are using molten salt as the coolant and providing fuel in a liquid form. Nuclear power is already the safest and cleanest energy source in the world, but it can still be improved. By adding these two critical design features, advanced reactors will be even safer than current nuclear reactors, produce no carbon emissions, increase efficiency and decrease waste, all while making electricity more abundant and affordable.
What are NEXTRA and Natura?
ACU is leading NEXTRA – the NEXT Research Alliance – among four universities with extensive experience in physics, chemistry and engineering. The consortium’s goal is to design, license and build the first university-based molten salt research reactor, which ACU will host and own. Other members of the consortium are Georgia Institute of Technology, Texas A&M University and The University of Texas at Austin.
The research is funded by Abilene-based Natura Resources, an LLC established by Doug Robison, a third generation oilman and member of the ACU Board of Trustees. Natura has agreed to funding of $30.5 million over the next three years in support of NEXTRA’s mission. This represents the largest sponsored research agreement in ACU history.