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Read the March 2017 issue of the ASI Newsletter


​Read the March 2017 issue of the AMM Newsletter


​See for the original.

DOE Nuclear Innovation Partnership GAINs Steam

  • DOE public-private nuclear partnership program reports early success
  • Three of eight 2016 funding recipients are advanced reactor developers
  • Second round of small business vouchers underway
March 30, 2017—An initiative begun just over a year ago by the U.S. Department of Energy to help developers of advanced nuclear technology to accelerate innovation and commercialization has reported “significant progress” on the eight projects chosen for voucher awards in 2016. DOE’s call for applicants for the 2017 voucher award cycle will close April 10.

DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy launched the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) initiative in November 2015, to provide private-sector innovators of advanced nuclear technologies with direct access to the technical, regulatory and research capabilities of DOE’s national laboratory system.

“Since work on these projects began in September 2016, the GAIN voucher program has shown itself to be successful in fostering relationships between innovative technology developers and DOE laboratory staff, serving the GAIN mission to develop a public-private partnership framework that will enable accelerated commercialization of innovative concepts,” GAIN Director Rita Baranwal said.

“DOE and the national laboratory complex have a lot of tools, but the industry does not always necessarily know about them. GAIN helps bridge that gap,” says Everett Redmond, the Nuclear Energy Institute’s senior technical advisor of new reactor and advanced technology.

“GAIN illustrates how DOE and the national labs are becoming more responsive to the research and development needs of the industry. We’re very happy about it, but there’s a lot more work to be done,” Redmond adds.

In March 2016, GAIN’s Nuclear Energy Small Business Voucher pilot program awarded a total of $2 million to eight of 29 applicants, based on the projects’ technical quality, potential for commercialization and level of innovation. Individual awards ranged from $50,000 to $300,000, depending on the complexity of the task requested. Voucher recipients were required to provide a 20 percent share of the costs. The financial awards allow research work to be performed on recipients’ behalf by staff at designated DOE laboratory facilities, to be completed within 12 months (see table).


Of the eight awardees, three are developers of advanced nuclear reactor technologies—Terrestrial Energy USA Ltd., Transatomic Power Corp. and Oklo Inc.

Staff at Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) procured, prepared and characterized fluoride salt compositions for Terrestrial Energy USA’s molten salt reactor design. Efforts to determine the heat capacity of these salt compositions will continue in 2017, after which ANL will verify the solubility of selected fission products in the fuel salt.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in February issued a technical memorandum verifying aspects of the reactor core and fuel cycle performance of Transatomic Power’s molten salt reactor. Further work is planned for the near future.

“This is just the first step in what we hope will be a long, productive engagement with the national lab system,” Transatomic Cofounder and CEO Leslie Dewan noted last month.

Oklo Inc. is a Silicon Valley-based startup developing a 2-megawatt “micro-reactor.” Through the GAIN voucher program, researchers at ANL and the Idaho National Laboratory assisted Oklo in compiling and assessing information about legacy metallic fuel data and commercial fuel fabrication, which also is of interest to the larger reactor development community. Both labs participated in a pre-application meeting between Oklo and U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff, and INL will fabricate prototypic fuel elements to test potential manufacturing methods.

The other voucher awardees are involved with other laboratory staff in advanced fuel fabrication and testing and various other nuclear innovations.

“Overall, the voucher pilot program has run smoothly through its first quarter and voucher recipients are satisfied with progress thus far,” Baranwal added.

GAIN and DOE applied lessons from the 2016 voucher program to the 2017 award cycle, which opened March 13 and closes April 10.

Note: Full details are also available at

U.S. Department of Energy–Office of Nuclear Energy (DOE-NE) Releases FY 2017 Request for Information (RFI) for Nuclear Materials

DOE-NE has released a Request for Information (RFI) (DE-SOL- 0010995) “FY 2017 University, National Laboratory, Industry and International Input on Potential Additions to the NSUF Nuclear Fuels and Materials Library.” 

DOE-NE, through the Nuclear Science User Facilities (NSUF), is currently seeking information regarding 
  1. existing nuclear energy research materials and specimens that can, potentially, be added to the NFML, and 
  2. future needs for nuclear energy-related material to support ongoing nuclear energy challenges as well as future research advancements in nuclear energy.
The Nuclear Fuels and Materials Library (NFML), which is owned by DOE-NE and curated by the NSUF, is a collection of specialized information and nuclear fuel and material specimens from past and ongoing irradiation test campaigns, as well as real-world components retrieved from decommissioned power reactors, and donations from other sources. The NFML can be accessed through a web portal at the Nuclear Science User Facilities website or directly at

The RFI will be posted on and the Nuclear Science User Facilities website. Responses to the RFI must be submitted through the Nuclear Science User Facilities website. Detailed instructions are included in the RFI along with contact information for help with completing a submission.

The FY 2017 RFI will be open for submissions until June 30, 2017. The FY 2018 NFML RFI is planned to open in fall of 2017 and close in the summer of 2018.

Submissions Due: June 30, 2017

U.S. Department of Energy REQUEST FOR INFORMATION (DE-SOL-0010995) University, National Laboratory, Industry & International Input on Potential Additions to the NSUF Nuclear Fuels & Materials Library (PDF) (HTML)


Additional Resources

News Media
Full story available at

By Rebecca Kern

Not long ago, a company wanting decades-old national laboratory data on using sodium—instead of water—to cool a nuclear reactor could not have gotten access to such proprietary information.

But a novel Energy Department cost-share program is helping small firms partner with labs to use such data, as well as the labs’ facilities and expertise, as a way to bolster research into advanced reactor technologies.

The Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) Initiative, launched in November 2015, has awarded up to $2 million in small business vouchers to eight start-up companies to partner with nine participating national labs for one year to overcome specific research and development hurdles for advanced-reactor technologies.

GAIN opened a second small-businesses voucher round March 13 aimed at providing research funding that covers of 80 percent of the firm’s projects.

Rita Baranwal, director of the GAIN program at Idaho National Laboratory, hopes to double the funding this year, depending on overall congressional funding for the Energy Department. The nuclear industry and its advocates have repeatedly said the U.S. must overhaul how nuclear reactors are designed, financed and built in order to be competitive with other energy sources in the future.

“One of the main initiatives is to close the gap to commercialize their technology and to try to get these companies closer to the finish line,” Baranwal, who was formerly director of technology development at Westinghouse Electric Co., told Bloomberg BNA.

“We do that by providing them access to DOE facilities, providing them some financial assistance, and providing them some guidance through the regulatory process as well.”

Continued at link

US Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Preliminary Draft Guidance on Non-Light Water Reactor Security Design Considerations

The Commission's "Policy Statement on the Regulation of Advanced Reactors," (73 FR 60612; October 14, 2008) states that the design of advanced reactors should "include considerations for safety and security requirements together in the design process such that security issues (e.g., newly identified threats of terrorist attacks) can be effectively resolved through facility design and engineered security features, and formulation of mitigation measures, with reduced reliance on human actions."


The NRC staff issued preliminary draft guidance on non-light water reactor security design considerations for public comment. This document sets forth a set of “security design considerations” that a designer should consider while developing the facility design. These considerations, if adequately implemented through detailed design, along with the adequate implementation of administrative controls and security programs, are one way to protect a nuclear power reactor against the DBT for radiological sabotage. The security design considerations document is available in the NRC’s Agencywide Document Access and Management System at accession no. ML16305A328. A notice was published in the Federal Register on March 13, 2017 (FRN 2017-04873). The comment period closes on April 27, 2017.


Note: Nuclear Energy Voucher information can be found under the "Opportunities" heading or here:

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho – The Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) today announced the availability of fiscal year 2017 funds for small business vouchers to assist applicants developing advanced nuclear energy technologies who are seeking access to the world class expertise and capabilities available across the U.S. Department of Energy's national laboratories complex. The small business vouchers are provided by the DOE's Office of Nuclear Energy to support nuclear energy innovation in the small business sector.

"The objective of GAIN is to accelerate cost-effective commercialization of innovative nuclear energy technologies," said Rita Baranwal, GAIN director. "This cost-sharing initiative enables partnerships with small businesses and provides them with access to the technical, regulatory and financial support necessary to bridge the gap to delivering new technologies to market."

A Letter of Intent from a company intending to submit a voucher application is requested and strongly encouraged to be submitted by March 9, 2017. Submitting a Letter of Intent will enable GAIN to assist with identifying appropriate facilities and staff to support the voucher application and to assist the applicant as needed. More information on the vouchers and eligibility requirements are available at

The Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear is a U.S. Department of Energy initiative to provide the nuclear industrial community with access to the technical, regulatory, and financial support necessary to move new or advanced nuclear technologies toward commercialization while ensuring the continued safe, reliable, and economic operation of the existing nuclear fleet. Day-to-day management of GAIN is the responsibility of Idaho National Laboratory. See more GAIN news at Follow @GAINnuclear on Twitter or visit our Facebook page at



The Nuclear Science User Facilities (NSUF) is one of a growing number of Department of Energy user facilities in the U.S., and is the nation's only designated nuclear energy user facility. Through a peer-reviewed application process, NSUF provides external research teams with no-cost access to reactor, post-irradiation examination (PIE) and beamline capabilities at Idaho National Laboratory (INL) and a diverse mix of affiliated partner institutions at universities, national laboratories and industry facilities located across the country.

The original news release is available at

The United States Department of Energy (DOE) and Belgium’s Studiecentrum voor Kernenergie/Centre d’Etude de l’Energie Nucléaire (SCK•CEN) (also known as the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) concerning cooperation in nuclear energy research and development on January 13, 2017. 

This MOU will enable collaboration on future irradiations and post-irradiation examinations (PIE), including planned SCK•CEN activities to take place in the Belgium Reactor–2 (BR-2) and associated Laboratory for High and Medium Activity (LHMA) hot cells, as well as planned DOE activities to take place in the Advanced Test Reactor (ATR), the Transient Reactor Test (TREAT) Facility, and High Temperature Test Laboratory (HTTL) located at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) and other facilities that are part of DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy Nuclear Science User Facilities (NSUF).

Initial collaboration is being performed under a cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) under Annex 1 of the MOU, between SCK•CEN and INL that was negotiated and signed on November 14, 2016, to conduct irradiation tests and perform PIE activities with silicon carbide, uranium alloys and uranium ceramic materials, as well as develop sensors and instrumentation. The outcomes of this collaboration will support and enhance future NSUF opportunities and capabilities for nuclear energy researchers.

The nuclear industry may access some of these capabilities through the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) initiative to help achieve faster and cost-effective development of innovative nuclear energy technologies toward commercial readiness.

More information regarding the NSUF program is available at, and the GAIN initiative at



GAIN current and prospective partners may be interested in attending the Industry Growth Forum by INL's partner lab, the National Rewable Energy Laboratory.  The event is set for April 13-17, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. For details, visit




DOE’s Office of Technology Transitions (OTT) has issued a call for Technology Commercialization Fund (TCF) research proposals for Fiscal Year 2017. These funds are intended to advance laboratory technologies toward commercialization deployment. They double INL’s resources by providing matching grants for research and industry partnered projects.

Researchers are asked to carefully evaluate INL-developed technologies to best fit the topic areas. Topic 1 funding is intended for projects where additional technology maturation is needed to attract a private partner. Topic 2 funding is intended for cooperative development projects between a lab and industry partner(s) and is designed to bolster the commercial application of a lab-developed technology.


Type of matching funds

Funding amount per selection

Performance period

Topic 1

Require matching cash or in-kind funds from Technology Deployment

$100,000 to $150,000

Six to 12 months

Topic 2

Require matching funds from industry sponsors

$250,000 to $750,000

12 to 24 months

Technology Deployment (TD) encourages researchers to take advantage of this advanced notice to find industry sponsors and to apply for Topic 2 funding wherever possible. This is critical due to the success of the last round of TCF Topic 1 awards, which used up most of TD’s funds to provide the matching portion.

Key dates include:

Dec. 22Submission deadline for letters of intent
Feb. 22, 2017: Submission deadline for proposals

Interested parties and potential industry sponsorship can contact Mark Kaczor (526-1340) for more information.



​Next generation nuclear reactors are at a critical crossroad between technology development and future deployment. Accelerating progress toward deployment of these new reactors is required if they are to meet the climate change and global energy needs of the mid-21st century and beyond. In this new memo, the Global Nuclear Initiative outlines its members views on the need and challenges for deploying advanced nuclear reactors.  




WASHINGTON – As of today, 72 parties accounting for 56.75 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions have joined the climate agreement negotiated at COP21 in Paris, meeting the requirements of 55 parties representing 55 percent of global emissions needed for the Paris Agreement to enter into force in 30 days, prior to the COP22 meeting in Morocco.

U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz released the following statement:

“Passing the threshold for the Paris Agreement’s entry into force is a historic moment, marking a new era of global consensus on climate change action. This agreement will further accelerate development of a multi-trillion dollar market for clean energy technology solutions that reduce heat-trapping emissions.

“While the Agreement’s entry into force is cause for celebration, our work has just begun. The central challenge for this new era will be to accelerate the deployment of energy technologies, develop new innovative low-carbon solutions quickly, meet the goals our nations have declared before the world, and encourage even greater ambition.

“That’s why, on the first day of COP21, President Obama announced Mission Innovation, an initiative in which 20 countries plus the European Union have now pledged to each seek a doubling of clean energy R&D investments over a five-year period. Private sector leaders announced the parallel Breakthrough Energy Coalition, again aimed at accelerating the transition to a clean energy economy.

“As we have already seen in the United States, building a clean energy economy creates jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities, lowers energy costs for families and businesses, enhances energy security, and has the potential to expand access to electricity to billions worldwide. The United States is committed to lead by example on clean energy and energy technology innovation.

“As I travel across the country, the innovation I see taking place in every state convinces me that America has the workers, the entrepreneurs, the scientists, the engineers, and the desire to be the global R&D leader for clean energy technology, research, development, and deployment.

“With each country doing their part to meet the Paris Agreement, we can leverage science and technology to combat climate change, improve quality of life around the world, and create unprecedented opportunities through a low-carbon economy.”


Dr. Kemal Pasamehmetoglu, associate lab director of Idaho National Laboratory's Nuclear Science & Technology directorate, has announced the selection of Westinghouse executive Dr. Rita Baranwal to serve as director of the INL-led Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) initiative.


INL News Release 


Aug. 16, 2016 


Joseph Campbell, 208-521-7445, 

Laura Scheele, 219-381-8672, ​

INL taps industry senior leader to lead GAIN as the initiative continues to grow

Editor's Note: A photo and bio of Dr. Rita Baranwal are attached

Dr. Kemal Pasamehmetoglu, associate lab director of Idaho National Laboratory's Nuclear Science & Technology directorate, has announced the selection of Westinghouse executive Dr. Rita Baranwal to serve as director of the INL-led Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) initiative. As GAIN director, Baranwal will lead efforts to support the development of innovative reactor technologies in the U.S.

Pasamehmetoglu has served a dual role leading the GAIN program since it launched in late 2015, as well as INL's Nuclear Science & Technology directorate at the nation's lead nuclear energy laboratory. The addition of Baranwal will enable further growth as GAIN continues to expand. She will begin in her new role on Aug. 22. 

"Rita brings a wealth of industry experience and nuclear fuels and materials science expertise to her new role," Pasamehmetoglu said. "I'm confident that she will provide strong leadership for the GAIN program as it continues to grow as a catalyst for innovation in advanced nuclear technologies."

Baranwal served most recently as director of Technology Development in the Engineering Center of Excellence at Westinghouse Electric Corporation. and has held many other roles in nuclear fuel design and engineering. She holds a doctorate in materials science and engineering from the University of Michigan. 

INL is one of the DOE's national laboratories. The laboratory performs work in each of DOE's strategic goal areas: energy, national security, science and environment. INL is the nation's leading center for nuclear energy research and development. Day-to-day management and operation of the laboratory is the responsibility of Battelle Energy Alliance. ​

See more INL news at Follow @INL on Twitter or visit our Facebook page





Dr. Rita Baranwal will be joining INL's Nuclear Science & Technology directorate later this month as the director for the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) initiative.

Baranwal most recently served as the director of Technology Development and Application at Westinghouse Electric Corporation in Cranberry, Pennsylvania. In that position, she led the creation and development of game-changing technologies and managed characterization and hot cell laboratories to support Westinghouse, its customers and the nuclear power industry. Her previous positions at Westinghouse include director of Core Engineering and manager of Materials and Fuel Rod Design. Prior to joining Westinghouse, she was a manager in the Materials Technology organization at Bechtel Bettis, Inc.   

Baranwal was an adjunct faculty member of University of South Carolina's nuclear engineering graduate program from 2010-2012. She holds two patents for materials engineering technology and has co-authored publications related to characterization of irradiation and fabrication process effects on material microstructure and properties. She received her bachelor's degree from MIT in materials science and engineering and her master's degree and Ph.D. in the same discipline from the University of Michigan. She also completed an executive management program at Duquesne University's Beard Institute in 2009.

Baranwal has been an active American Nuclear Society member since 2008 and currently serves on the ANS Materials Science and Technology Division Executive Committee. She also serves on the board of directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters in Pittsburgh and was recently elected to serve on the board of directors for North Hills Community Outreach.





The U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Nuclear Energy, is releasing a "save the date" for the FY 2017 webinar to discuss select Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs). DOE-NE anticipates discussing FY 2017 NEUP R&D, NEUP IRP, NEET, and applicable NSUF workscopes. New aspects of DOE-NE's consolidated FOAs will also be discussed.

Draft workscopes,​ will be made available prior to the webinar.

When: August 8-10, 2016

Webinar Schedule

Save the Date Flyer

​Click HERE​ to Register for the FY17 Webinar

On June 13, 2016, through the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN), the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced that eight small businesses will be provided up to $2 million for the Nuclear Energy Voucher pilot program. The goal of the program is to assist new entrants into the nuclear field as they build the collaborations necessary to accelerate the development and deployment of innovative nuclear technologies by granting them access to the extensive nuclear research capabilities available at DOE’s national laboratories and Nuclear Science User Facilities (NSUF) partners.

“We congratulate these small businesses selected for the NE Voucher pilot program, and we look forward to working with each of these organizations as they develop their innovative concepts,” said John Kotek, DOE Acting Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy. “In addition to this financial support, DOE will be fostering innovation by facilitating these groups’ access to the extensive nuclear research capabilities hosted at DOE National Labs and our partners in the Nuclear Science User Facilities program.”

The mission of GAIN is to provide the nuclear community with access to the technical, regulatory, and financial support necessary to move innovative nuclear energy technologies toward commercialization while ensuring the continued safe, reliable, and economic operation of the existing nuclear fleet.

“I am excited to begin working with each of the recipients,” said Dr. Kemal Pasamehmetoglu, Director of the GAIN initiative and Associate Lab Director for Nuclear Science & Technology at Idaho National Laboratory. “Along with our partner labs, we have the facilities and capabilities needed to help make their advanced nuclear technology concepts a reality. I was impressed with the number and quality of applications and the interest in developing innovative nuclear technologies. The urgency and stakeholder support for these innovations has never been stronger.”

The small businesses selected for vouchers are:

GAIN Nuclear Energy 
Voucher recipients


Partner Facility


Creare LLC
Hanover, NH


Investigation of Materials for Continuous Casting of Metallic Nuclear Fuel

Idaho National Laboratory


Columbia Basin Consulting Group, LLC
Kennewick, WA


Lead-Bismuth Small Modular Reactor (SMR) Licensing Development

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory


Terrestrial Energy USA Ltd.
New York, NY


Verification of Molten-Salt Properties at High Temperatures

Argonne National Laboratory


Transatomic Power Corporation
Cambridge, MA


Optimization and Assessment of the Neutronics and Fuel Cycle Performance of the Transatomic Power Molten Salt Reactor Design

Oak Ridge National Laboratory


Ceramic Tubular Products
Rockville, MD


Robust Silicon Carbide Cladding for LWR Application - Corrosion and Irradiation Proof Test of Low Cost Innovations in MIT Research Reactor

Massachusetts Institute 
of Technology


Oklo Inc.
Sunnyvale, CA


Legacy Metal Fuel Data Exploration for Commercial Scale-Up

Argonne National Laboratory/Idaho National Laboratory


CompRex, LLC
De Pere, WI


High Efficiency Heat Exchanger for High Temperature and High Pressure Applications

Argonne National Laboratory


Laramie, WY


High efficiency and low cost thermal energy storage system

Argonne National Laboratory

INL is one of the DOE’s national laboratories. The laboratory performs work in each of DOE’s strategic goal areas: energy, national security, science and environment. INL is the nation’s leading center for nuclear energy research and development. Day-to-day management and operation of the laboratory is the responsibility of Battelle Energy Alliance. 


The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is awarding over $82 million in nuclear energy research, facility access, crosscutting technology development, and infrastructure awards in 28 states. In total, 93 projects were selected to receive funding that will help push innovative nuclear technologies toward commercialization and into the market. These awards provide funding for nuclear energy-related research through the Nuclear Energy University Program, Nuclear Science User Facilities, and Nuclear Energy Enabling Technology programs. In addition to financial support, a number of recipients will receive technical and regulatory assistance through the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) initiative.


For full details, see the announcement on the Nuclear Energy University Program website.


DOE-NE is inviting members of the SMR industry to participate in a two-day workshop, June 22-23 in North Bethesda, MD, intended to help inform DOE's future program plans to support development of the domestic SMR industry and position them to succeed.        




DOE Workshop: 
Pathway to SMR Commercialization

In November 2015, the United States (U.S.) Department of Energy (DOE) launched the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) initiative to accelerate innovation of advanced nuclear technologies by providing potential industry partners with opportunities to access the technical, regulatory, and financial support necessary to move innovative nuclear energy technologies toward commercialization.  GAIN is expected to provide a vehicle for support of public-private partnerships to achieve national goals established by the DOE Office of Nuclear Energy (NE).  NE has been supporting the development of domestic small modular reactor (SMR) designs through the SMR Licensing Technical Support (LTS) program, which provides financial assistance for SMR design development and efforts leading to design certification, site permit, and license approvals from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.  DOE continues to believe that SMRs could play an important role in addressing the energy, economic, and environmental goals of the U.S.

The ultimate path to successful commercialization of SMR technologies will depend on many factors, including economic competitiveness, regulatory measures to reduce carbon emissions, market growth, as well as others.  Two related areas in which the Department has an interest are:

  1. Manufacturing technologies to reduce cost and schedule for SMR parts and components and meet the demands of the industry as it grows; and
  2. Additional SMR capabilities beyond baseload electricity generation, including use of SMRs in hybrid energy systems and in meeting national security needs.

DOE recognizes the need for a collaborative path forward with industry to determine the optimum set of activities that could achieve the goal of ensuring successful SMR deployments. Therefore, DOE requests domestic industry participation in a 2-day comprehensive workshop to elicit opinions on the two key topics identified above.

The workshop will include participation from domestic vendors, utilities, nuclear supply chain entities, laboratories, universities, or other related professional organizations to provide input and ideas in support of the DOE SMR commercialization goals.  

The first day will address the question of what manufacturing techniques, capabilities, or process improvements could provide the most significant benefit(s) for improving SMR economics, and how to accomplish the transition from prototype fabrication capability to a robust SMR manufacturing enterprise. 

The second day of the workshop will address the question of what SMR capabilities should be developed further to improve the global marketability of SMRs. 

Participants should consider SMR-focused concepts that support the development of any non-electric applications, the use of SMR-generated process heat in various industrial and community environments, capabilities to deliver secure power to critical missions, improvements in load-following capabilities to support grid stability, and the use of SMRs as a component of hybrid energy systems, as examples.

Workshop results will help inform DOE's future program plans to support the development of a domestic SMR industry with the ultimate goal of positioning U.S. SMRs to succeed.  The maturation of SMR technologies is integral to promoting the Administration's "all of the above" energy strategy, contributing towards meeting national climate and clean energy goals, and facilitating U.S. industrial competitiveness.

Follow on Social Media using #ActForNuclear

​To register and for a complete agenda, please go to:

View the workshop announcement

For the full workshop agenda and to register


Designers of advanced nuclear reactors seek to bridge the gap between concept and prototype. While it is early for investors and potential customers to easily pick winners from an increasingly crowded field of advanced reactor projects, new patterns of investment, including public/private partnerships, are creating opportunities for entrepreneurial developers.

Read more:


To expand our ability to improve the environment and global health, a new level of innovation in Nuclear Energy is needed. The Nuclear Innovation Bootcamp will train the next generation of students in developing and executing ideas that work in the world--providing them the tools to make a real impact. 

The NIA and UC Berkeley are partnering with Third Way and a collection of leading companies, laboratories, and universities for this summer's two-week program from August 1-12, 2016. Twenty five students will be trained in entrepreneurship and nuclear-specific concerns beyond standard university education and will put that training to use through team design projects.
Visit the Nuclear Innovation Bootcamp website for details and to apply.

A new generation of innovators is pioneering the future of nuclear energy in partnership with our National Labs. Citizens and policymakers leading the global transition to a low-carbon economy are focusing efforts on developing -- and building -- advanced nuclear reactors. To support these efforts, the Department of Energy is working to forge key partnerships and support a culture of nuclear innovation driven by this new generation of scientists, university researchers, entrepreneurs and investors.

“Nobody told today’s students that nuclear innovation is supposed to be slow.They chose nuclear because they want to save the world.” - Dr. Rachel Slaybaugh

The current nuclear reactor fleet is the low-carbon workhorse of the electricity world. In 2014, nuclear power generated about 60 percent of the carbon-free electricity in the United States. Today’s light-water reactor designs provide a safe, effective and affordable bridge to new nuclear reactor technologies -- promising increased flexibility and the ability to match electricity generation with demand.

First across that bridge may be small modular reactors (SMRs), which vary in size from 50 to 300 megawatts (about one-fourth the size of current reactors). With lower initial capital investments and shorter construction timelines than traditional-sized reactors, SMRs are progressing toward commercialization. They could replace aging, carbon-emitting coal power plants, and their smaller size provides more flexibility in where they can be located.

Tomorrow's fission reactors will broaden our energy options by using innovative fuels and, potentially, alternative coolants such as high-temperature gas and liquid metal or molten salt instead of water. Since many advanced reactor designs operate at a higher temperature than light-water reactors, they are ideally suited to replace fossil fuels for industrial applications that require high temperature process heat (such as oil refining and biofuel production) with nuclear-generated heat at an enormous savings in carbon emissions. 

Nuclear innovation doesn't stop at fission. Companies large and small, along with labs such as Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory are studying nuclear fusion -- the energy source of the sun and stars -- in the hopes of someday harnessing fusion for power on Earth.

INL blog1.png
r. Rachel Slaybaugh is among the new generation of scientists seeking to revolutionize nuclear energy. 
She is an assistant professor of nuclear engineering at the University of California-Berkeley. |  
Photo courtesy of UC Berkeley.

Nuclear innovators are also reshaping the federal government’s role in nuclear energy. The Department of Energy recently established the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) to provide the new nuclear energy community with access to the technical, regulatory and financial support necessary to move new nuclear reactor designs toward commercialization. GAIN is based on feedback from the nuclear community and provides a single point of access to the broad range of capabilities -- people, facilities, infrastructure, materials and data -- across the Energy Department and its national laboratories.

Led by Idaho National Laboratory in partnership with Argonne National Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, GAIN integrates and facilitates efforts by private industry, universities and national laboratories to test, develop and demonstrate innovative nuclear technologies to accelerate the licensing and commercialization of these systems. Focused research opportunities and dedicated industry engagement ensures that Energy Department-sponsored activities make a difference for companies working to bring new reactor designs to market.

University of California-Berkeley professor Rachel Slaybaugh summed up the buzz around nuclear technology innovation during a recent roundtable on advanced nuclear power: “Now is an exciting time to be in nuclear energy,” she said. “Nobody told today’s students that nuclear innovation is supposed to be slow. They chose nuclear because they want to save the world. Defining how the universities facilitate collaboration between students and industry will be key to our success.”

Editor's Note: This post was authored by Laura Scheele at Idaho National Laboratory, one of the Department of Energy's 17 National Laboratories

Link to original article on 

Originally posted March 1, 2016 - 1:00pm​


As part of the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) initiative, the NE Voucher program will provide up to $2 million in this pilot year for access to expertise, knowledge, and facilities of the National Laboratories and our partner facilities to help advance nuclear energy technologies.  Additional NE Voucher program information is available on the 'Apply for a Voucher' page on the GAIN website, including an expanded scope description, frequently asked questions, copies of the standard research agreements that will be needed for the selected application, as well as the  final Request for Assistance (RFA).

The application period starts on March 1 and will extend through March 30, 2016. Voucher selection notifications will be made in mid-May.

If you have questions or comments, we invite you to send them to Industry input is appreciated as the GAIN initiative continues to develop its programs to help accelerate innovative nuclear energy technologies in the U.S.


Kemal Pasamehmetoglu, Ph.D.
GAIN Director


News Media Contact: (202) 586-4940
Posted Jan. 27, 2016

WASHINGTON -- Furthering efforts to encourage clean energy innovation in nuclear energy, the Department of Energy (DOE) released a draft Request for Assistance (RFA) today for the Nuclear Energy Voucher Program to be used by small business applicants. The voucher program will give businesses access to DOE's unique, globally recognized facilities and researchers, which will help them further their efforts to develop next generation nuclear energy technologies. The Nuclear Energy Voucher Program represents a pilot initiative of the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) to provide the nuclear community with access to the technical, regulatory, and financial support necessary to move innovative nuclear energy technologies ​toward commercialization while ensuring the continued safe, reliable, and economic operation of the existing nuclear fleet. GAIN was launched in November 2015 as the nuclear energy component of DOE's Clean Energy Investment Center.

"Strong engagement between federal agencies, the research community, and technology developers is vital to bring new nuclear technologies to market, and is a core mission of GAIN," said Under Secretary of Science and Energy, Lynn Orr.  "By providing companies access to the Department's world class nuclear researchers, data, and facilities, we will help build the partnerships necessary to bring innovative technologies to the market faster by helping them solve their most pressing challenges." Recent reports have found strong interest in nuclear energy innovation from a number of new companies.  Through this voucher initiative, the Energy Department will provide small businesses access to the expertise and tools to test, validate, and introduce new products, expand businesses, and grow the clean nuclear energy industry. 

The Department is seeking feedback on the draft RFA and will accept comments and questions until February 16, 2016. The final RFA will be issued by March 1, 2016 and the selected applicants will be announced in the spring. These cost-shared vouchers will support small businesses by providing funding to a federally funded research and development center or a partner user facility to help companies overcome critical technology and commercialization challenges.  Project are anticipated to be 6-12 months in duration and during the initial pilot project, the Energy Department will fund up to 10 vouchers providing a total DOE cost-share of $2 million.

Additional information on the pilot Nuclear Energy Voucher Program and the Draft RFA can be found at http://GAIN.INL.GOV.   



INL is redistributing the below news release on behalf of Third Way. For more information about INL's role in the Advanced Nuclear Summit and Showcase, contact Misty Benjamin at 208-351-9900.

Forum to Discuss a Path Forward for Advanced Nuclear Innovation - Posted Jan. 27, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Third Way, in partnership with the Idaho National Laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, today hosted the first ever Advanced Nuclear Summit and Showcase.

The event brought together policymakers, innovators and investors who are developing advanced nuclear technology. Held at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., these experts participated in a series of panel discussions about the latest breakthroughs.

“The Advanced Nuclear Summit symbolizes the monumental progress that has been made over the last decade to develop affordable, reliable, safe, and clean advanced nuclear technology. If commercialized, advanced nuclear can strengthen our grid, help address climate, and maintain a robust domestic nuclear sector,” said Josh Freed, Vice President for the Clean Energy Program.   

Balancing climate concerns and the growing energy demands of the developing world is one of the great challenges of the 21st century.

“Advanced nuclear provides a path where we can both lift billions people around the world out of energy poverty and cut carbon emissions at the same time,” said Rachel Pritzker, Founder and President of the Pritzker Innovation Fund, and Third Way Board Member.  

In North America, 48 companies, backed by more than $1.6 billion in private capital, represent a new sector for the research, development and design of advanced nuclear reactors. Several companies were on hand at the Showcase to share the latest news related to their projects.

Speakers noted the progress that has been made in recent years to increase the support, development and commercialization of advanced reactors on the part of Congress, the National Regulatory Commission, the Dept. of Energy and the White House.

In November 2015, the Obama administration announced its 2017 budget plan includes $900 million in new funding to support the federal research, development and demonstration efforts in nuclear energy technologies. 

Much of this work will be conducted under the U.S. Dept. of Energy Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear or GAIN initiative. The Idaho National Laboratory will serve as private industry’s main point of access to federal experts and facilities.
“There are several different concepts and classes of advanced reactors being pursued and the GAIN initiative helps to create a thriving ecosystem for innovation that fosters private investment and activates the government’s investment in our national labs,” said Mark Peters, Idaho National Laboratory Director. 

While these and other announcements illustrate the support around the technology, panelists acknowledged the great deal of work that needs to be done to provide a clear path forward for advanced nuclear innovation in the U.S. 

“What the Advanced Nuclear Summit demonstrates is that there is a robust advanced nuclear sector being developed by private companies and research institutions,” said Freed. “The next step, which Washington is already beginning to address in a rare bipartisan moment, is to modernize how the federal government supports private innovation and regulates new nuclear technologies.” 


About Third Way

Third Way is a think tank that answers America’s challenges with modern ideas aimed at the center. It is comprised of Democrats and Independents who share the conviction that government plays an essential role in keeping the nation’s promises – for equal opportunity, individual liberty, stewardship of resources and lasting security. It advocates for private-sector economic growth, a tough and smart centrist security strategy, a clean energy revolution, and progress on divisive social issues, all through moderate-led U.S. politics.​

WASHINGTON – In support of the Administration’s goal to produce more carbon-free energy, today the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the selection of two companies, X-energy and Southern Company, to further develop advanced nuclear reactor designs. These awards, with a multi-year cost share of up to $80 million for both companies, will support work to address key technical challenges to the design, construction, and operation of next generation nuclear reactors.

“In order to ensure that nuclear energy remains a key source for US electricity generation well into the future, it is critically important that we invest in these technologies today,” said Secretary Moniz. “Public-private partnerships to develop advanced nuclear capabilities will enable low-carbon nuclear energy to power America for years to come.”

Nuclear power is a critical energy source that provides almost 20 percent of the electricity generated in the United States, and over 60 percent of the nation’s carbon free electricity. These awards provide an example of the public-private partnerships envisioned under the recently launched Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) initiative. Announced at the White House last fall, GAIN provides the nuclear energy community with access to the technical, regulatory, and financial support necessary to accelerate the commercialization of advanced nuclear energy systems.

Following a competitive process, DOE will fund cost-shared research and development activities with industry to support these two companies with performance-based advanced reactor concepts for further development in the areas of safety, operations, and economics. The projects announced today will allow industry led teams, which include participants from universities and national laboratories, to further nuclear energy technology, and will enable companies to further develop their advanced reactor designs with potential for demonstration in the 2035 timeframe. Initially, DOE’s investment will be $6 million for each project and both companies will provide cost-share. The possible multi-year cost-share value for this research is up to $80 million.

The two advanced nuclear power projects receiving awards today are:

  • X-energy – partnering with BWX Technology, Oregon State University, Teledyne-Brown Engineering, SGL Group, Idaho National Laboratory, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory to solve design and fuel development challenges of the Xe-100 Pebble Bed Advanced Reactor.  This type of reactor has next generation design and the most advanced safety features and it is also smaller than traditional nuclear reactors.  These factors would potentially enable such a reactor to serve a wider array of communities – particularly densely populated areas – while ensuring public safety.

  • Southern Company Services – partnering with TerraPower, Electric Power Research Institute, Vanderbilt University, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory to perform integrated effects tests and materials suitability studies to support development of the Molten Chloride Fast Reactor.  The MFCR is also a next generation design with the most advanced safety features that enable its potential use across the country.

Find more information about the Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy:



​​​As detailed in the Climate Action Plan, President Obama is committed to using every appropriate tool to combat climate change.  Nuclear power, which in 2014 generated about 60 percent of carbon-free electricity in the United States, continues to play a major role in efforts to reduce carbon emissions from the power sector.  As America leads the global transition to a low-carbon economy, the continued development of new and advanced nuclear technologies along with support for currently operating nuclear power plants is an important component of our clean energy strategy. Investing in the safe and secure development of nuclear power also helps advance other vital policy objectives in the national interest, such as maintaining economic competitiveness and job creation, as well as enhancing nuclear nonproliferation efforts, nuclear safety and security, and energy security.

The President’s FY 2016 Budget includes more than $900 million for the Department of Energy (DOE) to support the U.S. civilian nuclear energy sector by leading federal research, development, and demonstration efforts in nuclear energy technologies, ranging from power generation, safety, hybrid energy systems, and security technologies, among other things.  DOE also supports the deployment of these technologies with $12.5 billion in remaining loan guarantee authority for advanced nuclear projects through Title 17. DOE’s investments in nuclear energy help secure the three strategic objectives that are foundational to our nation’s energy system: energy security, economic competitiveness, and environmental responsibility.

Today, the White House is announcing and highlighting the following actions to sustain and advance nuclear energy, including:

  • Launching the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear:DOE is establishing the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) to provide the nuclear energy community with access to the technical, regulatory, and financial support necessary to move new or advanced nuclear reactor designs toward commercialization while ensuring the continued safe, reliable, and economic operation of the existing nuclear fleet. GAIN will provide the nuclear community with a single point of access to the broad range of capabilities – people, facilities, materials, and data – across the DOE complex and its National Lab capabilities. Focused research opportunities and dedicated industry engagement will also be important components of GAIN, ensuring that DOE-sponsored activities are impactful to companies working to realize the full potential of nuclear energy. GAIN will feature:
    •    Access to Capabilities: Through the Clean Energy Investment Center in DOE’s Office of Technology Transitions (OTT), GAIN will provide a single point of contact for users interested in a wide range of nuclear energy related capabilities and expertise. As an initiating step, Idaho National Lab will serve as the GAIN integrator for Office of Nuclear Energy capabilities.
    •    Nuclear Energy Infrastructure Database: DOE is also publishing the Nuclear Energy Infrastructure database (NEID), which provides a catalogue of existing nuclear energy related infrastructure that will enhance transparency and support nuclear community engagement through GAIN.  NEID currently includes information on 802 research and development instruments in 377 facilities at 84 institutions in the United States and abroad.  Nuclear technology developers can access the database to identify resources available to support development and implementation of their technology, as well as contacts, availability, and the process for accessing the capability.
    •    Small Business Vouchers: To support the strong interest in nuclear energy from a significant number of new companies working to develop advanced nuclear energy technologies, DOE plans to make $2 million available in the form of vouchers to provide assistance to small business applicants (including entrepreneur-led start-ups) seeking to access the knowledge and capabilities available across the DOE complex. This will enhance the ability of GAIN to serve a broader segment of the nuclear community. Information on available capabilities can be found HERE.
    • Assisting Navigation of the Regulatory Process: The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), consistent with its role as an independent safety and security regulator, will provide DOE with accurate, current information on the NRC’s regulations and licensing processes. DOE will work through GAIN with prospective applicants for advanced nuclear technology to understand and navigate the regulatory process for licensing new reactor technology.
  • Convening Second Workshop on Advanced Non-Light Water Reactors – The NRC and DOE will hold the Second Advanced Non-Light Water Reactors Workshops in spring 2016.  The successful first workshop was held in September 2015.  The purpose of the workshop is to explore options for increased efficiency, from both a technical and regulatory perspective, in the safe development and deployment of innovative reactor technologies. This would include examining both near-term and longer-term opportunities to test, demonstrate, and construct prototype advanced reactors, and evaluate the most appropriate licensing processes.
  •   Supplementing Loan Guarantee Solicitation for Nuclear Energy: Today, DOE is supplementing its existing solicitation that makes up to $12.5 billion in loan guarantees available to support innovative nuclear energy projects.  The solicitation states that eligible projects can include construction of advanced nuclear reactors, small modular reactors, uprates and upgrades at existing facilities, and front-end nuclear facilities.  In addition, the new supplement clarifies that project costs for an eligible project that are incurred as part of the NRC licensing process, such as design certification, construction permits, and combined construction and operating licenses (COL), could be eligible costs that may be financed with a loan guaranteed by DOE. 
  •   Establishing Light Water Reactor (LWR) Research, Development, and Deployment Working Group: DOE is formally announcing the establishment of the LWR Research, Development, and Deployment (RDD) Working Group to examine possible needs for future RDD to support the development of competitive advanced LWRs, as well as maintain the safe, efficient operations of currently operating nuclear power plants. The group will consist of federal, national laboratory, and industry participants. Recommendations are expected to DOE by February 2016.
  •   Addressing Small Modular Reactor Needs through Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors:Today, DOE’s Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors (CASL) is signing an agreement with NuScale to establish new cost-shared modeling and simulation tools under the CASL Energy Innovation Hub at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. This agreement specifies the work that will be done by CASL to install and support the use of its virtual reactor tools on NuScale systems and by NuScale to simulate performance questions using CASL tools.  Through this agreement, CASL tools will be expanded to better simulate SMR operation and inform design decisions. These efforts can lead to more efficient reactor designs that improve lifetime operation in a power plant.                               
  •   Investing in SMR Licensing: DOE began investing up to $452 million dollars over six years starting in FY 2012 to support first-of-a-kind engineering costs associated with certification and licensing activities for SMRs through the NRC. By utilizing cost-share agreements with private industry through a licensing technical support program, DOE supports the domestic development of these innovative nuclear technologies, thereby strengthening American manufacturing capabilities and the associated nuclear supply chain, improving domestic employment opportunities, and creating important export opportunities for the United States. It is expected that the first SMR design application will be submitted to the NRC in late-2016.
  • Designing a Modernized LWR Control Room: DOE is partnering with Arizona Public Service’s Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station to design a modernized control room for an operating commercial LWR. Working together through a cost-shared partnership, DOE’s LWR Sustainability Program and Palo Verde will consider the best way to replace traditional analog systems with digital systems that optimize control room operations. This work supports the long-term sustainability and efficiency of the currently operating nuclear power plants by assisting nuclear utilities to address reliability and obsolescence issues of legacy analog control rooms.

Posted November 6, 2015