The University of Minnesota will receive more than $2 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Energy to aid in nuclear energy research and development. The University is one of 23 universities nationwide that will receive funding from DOEâÄôs Nuclear Energy University Program , which announced it will award $38 million total to university-led projects across the nation. Daniel Poneman, Deputy Secretary of Energy , said Wednesday during a conference call that the funding will be used to research and develop a new generation of nuclear technology and to advance nuclear education. Nuclear energy is part of the solution to mounting energy, work shortage and pollution problems, Poneman said. âÄúWe believe that by building a clean energy economy, we can promote economic growth while enhancing our energy security,âÄù he said. Funding for two University projects will be awarded over three to four years. The proposal led by civil engineering professor Bojan Guzina was awarded $1.3 million, and professor Alex FokâÄôs proposal was awarded $854,000. Funding will be used to research a âÄúGeneration IVâÄù nuclear reactor âÄì a safer and more economic reactor than those used today. The last nuclear power plant in the United States was built almost 30 years ago, Poneman said. âÄúWe believe that these projects will help us develop the nuclear technologies of the future and to move our domestic nuclear industry forward,âÄù he said.