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Nuclear Reactor Systems

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.

Capabilities and Programs

Small Modular Reactors

INL is working with number of private companies seeking to build, demonstrate and commercialize small modular reactors. Both established and startup companies seek to learn from the lab’s experience and access its technical expertise and analysis.

International Programs

INL provides critical support to the Generation IV International Forum. The cooperative international endeavor was organized to carry out the research and development required for next-generation nuclear energy systems.

Light Water Reactor Sustainability (LWRS)

This program is developing the scientific basis to extend existing nuclear power plant operating life beyond the current 60-year licensing period and ensure long-term reliability, productivity, safety, and security. INL serves as the Technical Integration Office and coordinates the research and development projects.

Advanced Reactor Technologies (ART)

The Advanced Reactor Technologies (ART) Program was formed in fiscal year 2015 as a consolidation of three former Idaho National Laboratory (INL) programs: Next Generation Nuclear Plant, Small Modular Reactors, and Advanced Reactor Concepts. The ART Program aims to develop new advanced reactor designs and technology to advance the state of reactor technologies, improve competitiveness, and support meeting the nation’s energy, environmental, and national security needs.

ART is a national program funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) not only here in Idaho, but also at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Tennessee, Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) in Illinois, and Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) in New Mexico. Employees from these national laboratories support and facilitate INL ART TDO work, just as INL employees are in collaboration with ORNL, ANL, and SNL scientists and engineers. International collaborations are also conducted to help foster and leverage HTR technology across the international community.

Idaho National Laboratory