ACU receives $30.5 million for nuclear research reactor

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ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) — With $30.5 million of funding for a nuclear research reactor, Abilene Christian University (ACU) is working on something that could have local and global impacts.

“Our goal here is to really bless the world by developing technologies that will provide energy to raise people out of poverty, provide pure water and medical isotopes to treat and diagnose cancer,” says Dr. Rusty Towell from ACU and director of NEXT Lab.

Towell explains how this process will work.

“So what we’re doing is we’re developing advanced nuclear reactors where they’re cooled by molten salt, so the big advantage there is that instead of flowing water through through a reactor to move the heat from where it’s produced to where we produce electricity, we’re just circulating molten salt.”

Towell says, “We’re probably looking on the over of 15 years from now when all of those will come into fruition.”

Once completed, the new form of energy will be able to help create clean energy, Towell says.

“If you can provide them with clean energy that is affordable, so if you could provide them with electricity that they could have an electric heater to cook on and provide warmth to their home, you’ve changed their standard of living dramatically,” he says. “If we can provide a source of clean water, then you have the potential of blessing 2 billion people around the world.”

Once this research is completed, the new technology is expected to help cure cancer by creating medical isotopes.

“This is a case where the technology is proven and the need for these medical isotopes is great,” Towell says.

And although this project will take nearly 15 years, they have financial support from one local company.

“The more important commitment from Natura is, ‘We’re going to see this through. Whatever the cost, we’re going to see this through,'” Towell says.


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