nuclear milestone
MARVEL microreactor rendering
MARVEL microreactor rendering
Idaho National Laboratory

TRIGA International recently started fabricating fuel for the U.S. Department of Energy’s MARVEL microreactor project.  

MARVEL will be one of the first new reactors built at Idaho National Laboratory (INL) in more than four decades and will be used to advance new reactor technologies. 

The first shipment of fuel is expected to be delivered in spring 2025. 

Securing TRIGA Fuel 

TRIGA International is a joint venture between Framatome and General Atomics and is the only TRIGA fuel supplier in the world.  

The company was awarded an approximately $8.4 million contract in November to produce 37 TRIGA fuel elements for the MARVEL project and started the fabrication process at its facility in Romans, France late last month. 

The fuel created for MARVEL is similar to the TRIGA fuel used in university reactors for research and hands-on training. It was selected for its high safety performance and certified use in the United States. 

"Securing the fuel for the MARVEL microreactor project addresses a primary technical challenge,” said Dr. John Jackson, the national technical director for DOE's microreactor program. “The initiation of fuel fabrication represents another tangible step toward making this exciting test platform a reality."  

The MARVEL Microreactor 

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The proposed MARVEL microreactor project at Idaho National Laboratory will help researchers understand how advanced reactors could play a part in intelligent energy grids.
Idaho National Laboratory

MARVEL achieved 90 percent final design last year, which further solidifies the design that may be fabricated.   

The sodium-potassium-cooled microreactor is designed to generate 85 kilowatts of thermal energy. It will be built inside INL’s Transient Reactor Test Facility with future plans to connect it to a microgrid.  

The project will be used to help industry partners demonstrate microreactor applications, evaluate systems for remote monitoring, and develop autonomous control technologies for new reactors.  

What’s Next? 

The DOE microreactor program plans to submit MARVEL’s preliminary safety analysis report for review later this summer as part of the DOE authorization process.   

The project is also testing a full-scale, non-electric prototype of the reactor in Pennsylvania to gather data on the system’s coolant flow and power generation to ensure the reactor will perform as expected.  

Fuel loading for MARVEL is anticipated to occur in 2026, with the microreactor expected to be online by 2027.    

Learn more about the MARVEL microreactor project