NEXT Lab

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What is it that excites you, pulls you out of bed in the morning and begs you to discover more? Whatever your passion, ACU is ready to help you ignite it into a vision greater than you’ve imagined. We want to see you set the world on fire.

This is your place to discover ACU’s outstanding NEXT Lab.

What is it that excites you, pulls you out of bed in the morning and begs you to discover more? Whatever your passion, ACU is ready to help you ignite it into a vision greater than you’ve imagined. We want to see you set the world on fire.

This is your place to discover ACU’s outstanding NEXT Lab.

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Discover Your Possibilities

Exactly what you’re searching for – here

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.

 

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.

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.

Email next@acu.edu to learn about research opportunities or apply today!

 

The Magic of Molten Salt

Introduction to NEXT

Can molten salt really change the world? The answer is a resounding yes when it is used as a coolant for a new generation of nuclear reactors. ACU’s efforts to build a molten salt reactor that is safer, more efficient and creates much less waste than current nuclear reactors.

Student conducts experiment

What is the NEXT Lab?

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Mini golf course challenge with ACU engineering and physics students

Cross Discipline Opportunities

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Molten salt research video

Molten Salt Research

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Guest Speaker Presentations

Leaders in the Field

The innovative research taking place at the NEXT Lab is generating widespread interest. Watch some of the media interviews and talks by our NEXT Lab thought leaders.

Dr. Rusty Towell is director of ACU's NEXT Lab.

ACU Molten Salt Research Reactor

Oak Ridge Laboratory

 

Student conducts research in the NEXT lab

Thorium Fueled Molten Salt Reactor

Thorium Energy Conference 2018

Rosario Gibbs smiling at camera in front of NEXT lab sign

Rosario Gibbs gave a presentation to a consortium of universities

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Ignite Your Passion at ACU

Amanda Jones, left, and Cayla Clark are two of the four ACU students who presented posters at a meeting of the Texas Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine in Fort Worth

Explore Research as a Wildcat

Are you ready to ignite your passion at Abilene Christian University? Your inspiration is here, waiting for you to discover which path you’ll follow.

This is your time. What are you waiting for?

Hunter Welcome Center at night

Experience ACU for Yourself

Spark your curiosity about campus with a visit to ACU. Our visit experiences give you a glimpse of what’s to come during your college career, and we can’t wait to welcome you here.

Publications

NEXT lab flyer

NEXT Summary, Mission and Team

NEXT lab brochure

NEXT Brochure

NEXT lab booklet

ACU Today Feature

Energy Capital Feature