“The U.S. Department of Energy selected Idaho National Laboratory to house a nuclear reactor that could make the country a leader in nuclear technology. The DOE issued a record of decision last month to build a sodium-cooled fast test reactor, called a versatile test reactor, at Idaho National Laboratory, a federal lab that specializes in researching nuclear energy. The project still requires funding from Congress, which the DOE requested for fiscal year 2023. A “freedom of information request by the Union of Concerned Scientists” estimated the reactor could cost between $3.9 billion to $6 billion, Reuters reported. If built, the versatile test reactor would be the first of its kind to operate in the U.S. in nearly 30 years. Scientists would use the reactor to conduct experiments testing the endurance of materials. These materials could help build advanced nuclear reactors, which can generate clean energy. The U.S. will need reactors like this to reach its net-zero emissions by 2050 goal, according to the DOE. Only Russia has comparable technology.”
Comment: Who knew there is such a place? I thought they did all this at Oak Ridge. pl
Read more at: https://www.idahostatesman.com/news/northwest/idaho/article264433856.html#storylink=cpy
They’ve tried liquid metal as a cooling medium before, it has some drawbacks. DOE also issued a grant to Bill Gate’s Terra Power to build a commercial version of a similar concept out in Wyoming.
Col. from Wikipedia:
“The Naval Reactors Facility (NRF) is located 52 miles northwest of Idaho Falls, Idaho. The NRF is a United States Department of Energy-Naval Reactors facility where three nuclear propulsion prototypes A1W, S1W and S5G were located. It is contractor-operated for the government by Fluor Marine Propulsion Corporation (FMP), which also operates Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory and Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory.
From the early 1950s to the mid-1990s, NRF supported the U.S. Navy’s nuclear-powered fleet by testing reactor designs, receiving spent nuclear fuel for processing and storage, and training nearly 40,000 Navy personnel to operate surface and submarine nuclear power plants.
The only remaining active facility at NRF is the Expended Core Facility / Dry Storage Facility, which provides for storage of spent fuel from U.S. Naval reactors.
NRF is part of the Idaho National Laboratory.”
About 5 yrs ago my oldest son were making a round about road trip up from Texas, to Yellowstone, then west thru Idaho, Mostly on “2 lanes” to see the country. We came upon this laboratory out in the “back country”, Drove up to the main gate, spent 5 minutes looking from afar, then drove on.
I heard about INL a while back as the first site for one of NuScale’s small modular reactors. Before that, I don’t remember hearing much about INL beyond that it existed. Everything was about Oak Ridge since the New York World Fair in the 60s and my irradiated watermelon seeds. They grew well with thinner rinds than normal, but tasted great.
High time the US re-starts a serious nuclear power generation program. The current generation of reactor technology apparently uses previous generation spent fuel as feedstock. We should be at 100% base load from nuclear – generating terawatts.
What happened to our core capabilities in this field where we were world leaders? The wokies & greenies have only gained prominence in the past decade.
I am much impressed with the Navy’s record of reactor operation. From what I gather, although I am not 100% sure, they have never had a bad nuclear incident. Don’t know how many reactors the Navy has had over the years but it has to be quite a few. Maybe we should have the Navy run all the nuclear power plants in the US.
I’m an ex Navy-Nuc, and I can vouch for the safety of the nuclear program. In its entire history, going back to the 1950’s, there has never been a nuclear accident.
Every submarine built since then has been powered by nuclear reactors, and every aircraft carrier since the early 1960’s, except for the America and first JFK, has been powered by reactors.
When I went through the program in the late 1980’s, Idaho was one of three sites the Navy used for training operators on actual prototype reactors (the other two being Ballston Spa, NY and Windsor, CT.
At one time I had a job that included being liaison with a fleet nuclear propulsion examining board, so I had to go through all their ORSE reports. They were much more rigorous than us conventional guys, understandably so (but also better funded/supported).
California is finally reconsidering decommissioning the Diablo Canyon reactor. I live and hike on Mt. Diablo, so I got no fear of the devil. Why would an advanced civilization be so afeared of tiny and highly powerful elements? We need to handle the stuff, just like that. I fell in love with San Onofre when I was in fourth grade. I’ve also tripped hundreds of times on Acid, etc.. (ok, that’s why I’m me). I now live down the road from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, where I had the pleasure of taking a startup company into a business incubator hosted there. Don’t fear the future, don’t fear what you can do, fear fear.
Back in my day (Rickover) USN did nuke training at “prototype” there. Post VN CNO Zumwalt was concerned about maintenance of conventional plants on surface ships and directed that ship drivers going to command take a class that NPTU set up there for them.
Now I think as a consolation for closing Charleston Shipyard and Naval Station Nuke training was moved there, and also prototype in Ballston Spa, NY.
Where in Ballston Spa? Its not a big place.
It’s small alright, located on Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory surrounded by forest just west of Saratoga Springs. The family used the dispensary on the base when I was in training or deployed as SWMBO and the kids often stayed there when I was away from Devens.
We are constructing the same number of nuclear power plants as BanglaDesh and Slovakia! Why?