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Students worldwide learn to deploy a microreactor at US nuclear energy lab

May 26, 2023

By INL Media Relations

Students around the world will present their plans on deploying a nuclear microreactor today, the last day of a weeklong internationally organized program held at Idaho National Laboratory May 22-26. 

Student presentations will take place 1-3 p.m. May 26, in Collaborative Computing Center, 995 MK Simpson Blvd., Idaho Falls. 

The 2023 Small Modular Reactor Microreactor Pitch asks students to develop a deployment plan for a microreactor, a subset of advanced reactors. The plan must consider the technology, regulation, economics, social acceptance and policy considerations that would need to be addressed. 

“Students spent the week with INL and other international experts on deployment scenarios, culminating in briefings from student teams on critical challenges and needed initiatives,” said Todd Allen, chair of the University of Michigan’s Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences.  

INL Director John Wagner welcomes international students participating in the 2023 Small Modular Reactor Microreactor Pitch held at INL May 22-26, 2023.

Besides the University of Michigan’s Fastest Path to Zero Initiative, organizers include the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Nuclear Energy Agency’s Nuclear Education, Skills and Technology (NEST) Small Modular Reactors (SMR) program; the McMaster University SMART CREATE program; and the INL-led Emerging Energy Markets Analysis initiative.  

More than 30 students from universities in Germany, France, Italy, U.S. and Canada signed up for the weeklong program. This year INL joined as a partner to lend its deep nuclear expertise to the program. 

Over 30 students participated in the weeklong event that included tours of INL facilities, like the Collaborative Computing Center.

“It makes sense for the nation’s nuclear energy lab to host this school given INL’s role in working with stakeholders to assist in the path toward deployment for microreactors,” said Steven Aumeier, senior advisor of strategic programs at INL. “Our regional partners are particularly important as first-movers in advanced nuclear energy.”  

This program began in 2020, with SMR Hackathon, a series of online lectures followed by an in-person event the final day. It focused on an intensive five-day sprint that ranged from social acceptability to navigating the licensing and regulatory steps to position SMRs as a viable clean energy alternative. 

INL News Release
May 26, 2023 

Donna Kemp Spangler, 208-716-5113, [email protected]
Sarah Neumann, 208-520-1651, [email protected]


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Battelle Energy Alliance manages INL for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy. INL is the nation’s center for nuclear energy research and development, celebrating 75 years of scientific innovations in 2024. The laboratory performs research in each of DOE’s strategic goal areas: energy, national security, science and the environment. 

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Posted May 26, 2023

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