Fostering New Technologies

for the World’s Clean-Energy Future

How do we provide reliable, abundant clean energy to a rapidly growing population while also reducing carbon emissions? Advanced nuclear systems are one of the few technologies that can do just that.

Imagine a world where everyone has access to abundant, clean electricity to power their daily lives — a world with clear skies, healthy waterways and productive, connected societies. This world is attainable, and nuclear energy research continues to produce the knowledge we need to achieve our clean-energy goals. The Versatile Test Reactor (VTR) represents a vital tool to 
discover, test and advance the technologies we need to help our planet prosper.

How do we provide reliable, abundant clean energy to a rapidly growing population while also reducing carbon emissions? Advanced nuclear systems are one of the few technologies that can do just that.

Imagine a world where everyone has access to abundant, clean electricity to power their daily lives — a world with clear skies, healthy waterways and productive, connected societies. This world is attainable, and nuclear energy research continues to produce the knowledge we need to achieve our clean-energy goals. The Versatile Test Reactor (VTR) represents a vital tool to

discover, test and advance the technologies we need to help our planet prosper.

There are a lot of obligations that require a lot of energy. Now, people are looking at not only producing electricity, but also using the heat to replace the fossil fuels we are using in those processes with clean energy.

 

Kemal Pasamehmetoglu 
VTR Executive Director

 

There are a lot of obligations that require a lot of energy. Now, people are looking at not only producing electricity, but also using the heat to replace the fossil fuels we are using in those processes with clean energy.

 

Kemal Pasamehmetoglu 
VTR Executive Director

 

Rendering of the Versatile Test Reactor (VTR) nuclear test reactor Facility
VTR will provide valuable research capabilities not possible with the test reactors operating in the United States today.

 

VTR will provide valuable research capabilities not possible with the test reactors operating in the United States today.

 

VTR will help scientists and engineers create safer, longer-lasting and more efficient fuels, materials, sensors and instrumentation required for nuclear technologies. It will streamline the development of new nuclear technologies that can help bring reliable, affordable electricity to remote areas or provide the heat and energy needed to produce hydrogen, provide the high-temperature process heat needed for industrial applications, and produce clean water from brackish water, salt water or wastewater.

 

VTR will help scientists and engineers create safer, longer-lasting and more efficient fuels, materials, sensors and instrumentation required for nuclear technologies. It will streamline the development of new nuclear technologies that can help bring reliable, affordable electricity to remote areas or provide the heat and energy needed to produce hydrogen, provide the heat and energy needed to produce hydrogen, provide the high-temperature process heat needed for industrial applications, and produce clean water from brackish water, salt water or wastewater.

 

Activating the Nation’s Top Nuclear Experts

 

Experts from six national labs, 18 universities and 10 industry partner organizations are contributing to the design of this one-of-a-kind science facility. Once operational, VTR will welcome researchers and developers from all over, creating a collection of shared knowledge that will stimulate industry and boost economies across the United States.

Activating the Nation’s Top Experts

 

Experts from six national labs, 18 universities and 10 industry partner organizations are contributing to the design of this one-of-a-kind science facility. Once operational, VTR will welcome researchers and developers from all over, creating a collection of shared knowledge that will stimulate industry and boost economies across the United States.

With VTR, the United States can overtake the scientific testing and research and development capabilities already available in other countries, like Russia. U.S. researchers and developers currently encounter significant barriers — such as export control and intellectual property rights — when seeking access to those facilities.

Having this innovative scientific facility located on U.S. soil will reestablish our nation as the global leader in nuclear energy research and development.

With VTR, the United States can overtake the scientific testing and research and development capabilities already available in other countries, like Russia. U.S. researchers and developers currently encounter significant barriers — such as export control and intellectual property rights — when seeking access to those facilities.

Having this innovative scientific facility located on U.S. soil will reestablish our nation as the global leader in nuclear energy research and development.

FAQ

What is VTR?

The Versatile Test Reactor (VTR) is a one-of-a-kind scientific user facility capable of performing large-scale, fast-spectrum neutron irradiation tests and experiments simply not possible today. It will support research, development and demonstration of innovative nuclear energy technologies (with a focus on fuels, materials and sensors in representative environments) that can supply the world with abundant carbon-free energy. With the addition of VTR, the United States will again lead the world in nuclear energy research, safety and security while also supporting United States industry partners as they commercialize new technologies.

What is a test reactor? What will VTR do?

Test reactors are scientific research tools. They provide intense neutron fluxes that are used to simulate prototypical conditions or conduct accelerated neutron damage irradiation studies. Real-time measurements and subsequent post-irradiation examination techniques provide valuable information on how fuels, materials, components and instrumentation withstand the extreme conditions inside nuclear power plants and even future fusion reactors. This enables scientists and engineers to design safer, longer-lasting and more efficient fuels, materials and components for nuclear energy systems.

Why would/should the government invest in research infrastructure?

The federal government has long invested in large-scale scientific research infrastructure that universities could not afford to support innovation and technology development and help ensure U.S. leadership in science and engineering. Researchers from universities, industry and government agencies can access these capabilities, which support scientific discovery and the development of revolutionary new technologies.

Why is U.S. leadership in nuclear energy important?

The U.S. has long been a leader in not only the research and development of nuclear energy technologies but also in the licensing, safety procedures, operations and security of nuclear power plants. Because of that, many other countries have based their nuclear operations and regulations on what we do in the U.S. This has led to safer, more efficient operations of commercial nuclear power reactors around the world. Also, when other countries import and deploy U.S. nuclear energy technologies, a long-term strategic partnership is established with those countries for many decades to come.

New scientific facilities such as VTR will enable the U.S. to modernize its nuclear energy research and development  infrastructure and retain its leadership role.

When will VTR be built?

If final design and construction begin in 2023, VTR will be fully operational by the end of 2026, pending funding appropriations by Congress.

When will VTR be operational?

If final design and construction begin in 2023, VTR will be fully operational by the end of 2026, pending funding appropriations by Congress.

Where will VTR be located?

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has proposed building the VTR complex at one of its national laboratory sites and has contracted with a company to evaluate locations at Idaho National Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

Contact:

Laura.Scheele@inl.gov

         
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