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Environmental Sustainability

Ensuring environmental security

Energy extraction and use introduces the necessity of ensuring environmental safety and subsurface sustainability research, which requires excellence in scientific investigation and technological expertise.

INL scientists are working diligently to reduce the environmental impact of energy extraction and use. This includes work in geomechanical modeling and benchmarking, nuclear fuel codes, used nuclear fuel systems engineering, plus nuclear and radiological materials disposition.

Key contributions and capabilities involve securing national and international radiological materials, implementing a water security test bed and managing cultural resources on the Department of Energy Idaho Site.

Geothermal Research


INL is leading the Snake River Geothermal Consortium, one of five groups pursuing the development of Enhanced Geothermal Systems for the U.S. Department of Energy.


The US Department of Energy (DOE) Geothermal Technologies Office and INL developed the Geothermal Electricity Technology Evaluation Model (GETEM) to provide representative estimates of the cost to generate electrical power from geothermal energy.

From a defined resource type, temperature and depth, a power generation cost is estimated based on inputs developed for several resource scenarios that have been defined by DOE. Selected model inputs can be revised to consider alternative scenarios. From the input provided, costs and performance are estimated for the discovery, development and operation of a geothermal facility that produces electrical power. These estimates are representative of technologies used in developing a geothermal resource, but should not be construed as being indicative of what will occur with a specific geothermal project. Estimates for a specific project should be obtained from industry experts having the expertise required.

Cultural Resources

The success of Idaho National Laboratory’s missions in nuclear energy and energy research, science, and national security is underpinned by a commitment to world-leading environmental stewardship. Cultural Resource Management is a critical component of stewardship and operational excellence at the INL site.

Critical Materials

Critical materials are a non-fuel mineral, element, substance or material that have a high risk of supply chain disruption and that are vital to industries and technologies including clean energy, aerospace defense and electronics.

INL is dedicated to developing new technologies and methodologies to improve critical materials mining, separation and advanced manufacturing, while addressing supply chain and environmental concerns.

Idaho National Laboratory