The United States Department of Energy (DOE) released the Draft Versatile Test Reactor Environmental Impact Statement (DOE/EIS-0542). The proposed VTR would be a sodium-cooled, fast-neutron-spectrum test reactor that will enhance and accelerate research, development, and demonstration of innovative nuclear energy technologies.

The Draft VTR EIS, prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act, analyzes potential impacts of the VTR alternatives and options for reactor fuel production on various environmental and community resources. The Draft VTR EIS evaluates: 

  • Construction and operation of the VTR at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) or the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). This includes operating and performing experiments in the VTR, post-irradiation examination of irradiated test specimens in hot cell facilities, and spent fuel conditioning and storage pending shipment for interim or permanent disposal.
  • Production of fuel for the VTR at the Idaho National Laboratory and/or the Savannah River Site (SRS) including preparing feedstock for the fuel, fabricating fuel pins, and assembling the fuel pins into reactor fuel.
  • A no-action alternative under which DOE would not pursue the construction and operation of a VTR.  

The Draft VTR EIS identifies the construction and operation of the VTR at the INL Site as DOE's Preferred Alternative. To the extent possible, existing facilities (modified as necessary) would be used for the VTR support facilities.