A nuclear energy research center or “hub,” the first of what could become many research hubs, was recently announced by the Department of Energy. DOE intends to create three hubs this year to spur innovation by using large, multidisciplinary teams of scientists and engineers working over a long period on a specific energy problem. The nuclear hub will receive $22 million during this first year, with the department expecting to provide a total of $122 million over five years, subject to congressional appropriations. The focus of the nuclear hub will be to create and manipulate a virtual model or computer simulation of an operating reactor, DOE says. The facility will be physically located at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and will include nine team members from a mix of universities, companies, and government and private research labs. The two other yet-to-be-awarded hubs will conduct research on technologies to improve energy efficiency in buildings and to derive fuels from sunlight, carbon dioxide, and water. Energy Secretary Steven Chu has urged funding for several more hubs, which are based on industrial lab models of the past, each to solve specific energy problems. For more information, visit the website energy.gov/hubs.