Versatile Test Reactor
In FY-18, Congress allocated $35 million to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy to begin developing a conceptual design, cost estimate, and schedule for a fast spectrum test reactor to support advanced nuclear reactor research and development. Another $65 million was set aside in the FY-19 budget.
DOE created the Versatile Test Reactor Program in April 2018 after receiving the initial funding allocation. Four primary national laboratories, including INL (along with ANL, LANL and ORNL), universities and industrial partners are collaborating on this initial phase, which includes developing a conceptual design, cost and schedule estimates, and other elements such as the needed support facilities.
The VTR Program was launched in response to requests from U.S. companies investing in and developing advanced reactors that require different testing facilities than the commercial nuclear power technology in use today. In a June 2015 report, Third Way, a nonprofit think tank, identified 48 North American companies and organizations developing nine different advanced reactor designs.