Office of Nuclear Energy

Idaho National Laboratory awards $3.9 Million in support of proposed fast spectrum test reactor

October 5, 2018

You are here

Versatile Test Reactor graphic with atoms splitting
Idaho National Laboratory

Editor's note: This article was first reported by Idaho National Laboratory.

 

Idaho National Laboratory awards funding to university-led projects

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho – Idaho National Laboratory announced nearly $3.9 million in funding for 13 university-led projects to develop instrumentation and tools needed to monitor and conduct experiments in a proposed fast spectrum test reactor.

The projects were awarded through the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Nuclear Energy’s Versatile Test Reactor program and are part of an effort to develop a conceptual design and cost estimate for a new, one-of-a-kind test reactor that would support advanced reactor research and development.

“Developing these instruments, tools and other experimental mechanisms are a necessary part of understanding what sorts of test capabilities are needed to advance the next generation of nuclear technology,” said Dr. Kemal Pasamehmetoglu, executive director of the Versatile Test Reactor program.

DOE’s Nuclear Energy Advisory Committee (NEAC) examined this issue and recommended in a 2017 report “that DOE-NE proceed immediately with pre-conceptual design planning activities to support a new test reactor (including cost and schedule estimates).” The recommendation was based, partially, on responses from U.S. companies developing advanced reactors, many of which require different testing facilities than the commercial nuclear power technology in use today. Currently, there are only a few capabilities available for testing fast neutron reactor technology in the world and none in the United States.

In response to the NEAC recommendation, the DOE Office of Nuclear Energy established the Versatile Test Reactor program. DOE-NE is working with national laboratories, universities, and industry partners to develop cost estimates, a conceptual design, and potential schedule.

DOE is expected to decide whether to proceed with a fast spectrum irradiation test reactor in 2020. If approved, the intent is for the test reactor to be designed and built by domestic research entities and industry partners, continuing to establish U.S. leadership in nuclear energy innovation.

The university-led projects selected for funding are:

University of PittsburghDisruptive Nuclear Technology: Resonance Sensors and Inductive Signal Transmission through Hermetic Walls$450,000
University of Wisconsin – MadisonMiniature Scale Liquid Metal Oxygen Purification and Measurement System$350,000
University of UtahDevelopment of Experiment Vehicle for Analyzing the Chemistry of Irradiated Molten Salt$450,400
Texas A&M UniversityDevelopment of Innovative Measurement Techniques for Fission Product Transport Quantification$250,000
Oregon State UniversityIn Situ Mechanical and Corrosion Testing$440,000
University of New MexicoPreparatory Out-of-pile Lead Loop Experiments to Support Design of Irradiation Test Loop in VTR$450,000
North Carolina State UniversityVIM for VTR: Holistic Approach to Design and Construction$319,000
Texas A&M UniversityRabbit System Design and Demonstration$400,000
Abilene Christian UniversityInvestigation of Instrumentation, Data Analytics, and Simulation Synergies for the Versatile Test Reactor$150,000
Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyAdvanced Data Acquisition and Simulation with Live Data Supporting VTR Experiments$150,000
University of IdahoAdvanced Molten Salt Flow Sensor$100,000
Colorado School of MinesBig, Deep, and Smart Data to Support VTR Experiment Design and Validation$169,000
Georgia TechIBD Power Monitor for the VTR Experimental Program$196,000

INL is one of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) national laboratories. The laboratory performs work in each of DOE’s strategic goal areas: energy, national security, science and environment. INL is the nation’s leading center for nuclear energy research and development. Day-to-day management and operation of the laboratory is the responsibility of Battelle Energy Alliance.

See more INL news at www.inl.gov. Follow @INL on Twitter or visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/IdahoNationalLaboratory.