Contract advances microreactor test bed at Idaho National Laboratory 

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded a contract to TRIGA International, a joint venture between Framatome and General Atomics, to fabricate fuel for the MARVEL microreactor at Idaho National Laboratory. Under this contract, Framatome will manufacture a fuel similar to the TRIGA fuel used in U.S. university reactors. 

“DOE and TRIGA International have reestablished the TRIGA fuel supply to support U.S. university research reactors,” said Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy Dr. Kathryn Huff. “With this contract, we will leverage that investment to support demonstration of advanced reactors as well.”  

MARVEL is a sodium-potassium-cooled microreactor that will generate roughly 85 kilowatts of thermal energy. It will serve as a test capability to speed the development of microreactor technology.  

Microreactors will offer choices to customers that need a constant and reliable source of clean power without the land use requirements and capital costs of a large construction project. Microreactors could also be used to power independent microgrids or be deployed to power remote locations where traditional infrastructure does not exist.  

MARVEL recently achieved 90 percent final design. This milestone allows the project to move forward with fabrication and construction. It also permits DOE to award contracts for reactor components and fuel fabrication. 

The TRIGA fuel fabrication contract was awarded through Battelle Energy Alliance, LLC, which operates Idaho National Laboratory.  

This announcement follows the first-of-its-kind shipment of TRIGA fuel to Penn State in September 2023—another key milestone in reestablishing the TRIGA fuel supply. 

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