Oklo Submits the First Combined License Application for an Advanced Fission Plant
Although researchers at national laboratories have traditionally thought in terms of getting "awards" to fund their projects, a U.S. Department of Energy program is taking a new approach to keeping the nuclear energy research and development fires stoked.
Since 2016, the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) has been providing vouchers to help companies engaged in nuclear research, streamlining commercialization efforts by offering the resources of DOE's national labs for much less than what they would typically cost.
"In an ideal case, a young startup company has run into an issue that it doesn't have the resources to solve," said John Jackson, GAIN's technical interface. "We view ourselves as a high-end technical service to benefit the United States."
Of the 49 vouchers that have been issued since 2016, work has been done for small companies such as Oklo, of Sunnyvale, California, and Creare, of Hanover, New Hampshire. Yet giants such as Westinghouse and GE-Hitachi have also benefited from GAIN vouchers. READ MORE
The Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) announced today that two nuclear companies will be provided GAIN Nuclear Energy (NE) Vouchers to accelerate the innovation and application of advanced nuclear technologies. NE vouchers provide advanced nuclear technology innovators with access to the extensive nuclear research capabilities and expertise available across the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratory complex. This is the second round of awards in FY 2020. READ MORE
Micro-reactors are very small nuclear reactors capable of operating independently from the electric grid to supply highly resilient power, and are well suited to serve the power needs for remote communities that currently do not have access to reliable, resilient and affordable energy. A typical commercial microreactor is envisioned to be a mobile nuclear power plant in a 2-20 MWe range that is fully factory built, fueled and assembled. It is transportable to the remote site via ground, sea or air with black start, renewable integration and island mode operation capability. They are designed to be self-regulating and walk-away safe with minimal operator intervention. NEI estimates that Microreactors could deliver electricity at rates between $0.09/kWh and $0.33/kWh. This presentation will describe 'genericized' microreactor designs being pursued by various vendors, technology gaps and the role of DOE's Microreactor R&D. READ MORE
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is authorized by the FY2020 Congressional appropriations to initiate an advanced reactor demonstration program. DOE has issued a Request for Information/Notice of Intent (RFI/NOI) on the government-wide point of entry (beta.SAM.gov) as part of its market research for this program. The RFI/NOI notifies interested parties of DOE’s intended strategies to implement this program, as well as solicits input regarding these strategies from interested parties, including advanced reactor developers. The RFI/NOI gives interested parties the opportunity to provide DOE with their insights on how the demonstration program could be successfully executed. DOE intends to use the information submitted in response to the RFI/NOI to inform its procurement approach.
Please see the RFI/NOI by clicking HERE.
To maintain U.S. global advanced nuclear leadership, it is important to have a versatile, high-energy neutron source. The U.S. Versatile Test Reactor (VTR) can provide that capability to accelerate research and test nuclear materials, fuel, and other components. The VTR can assist in developing innovative nuclear energy technologies that have inherent safety features, lower waste yields, the capability to consume waste materials, the ability to support both electric and non-electric applications, and other improvements over the current generation of reactors. Furthermore, the success of the VTR will advance the U.S. industry by not having domestic nuclear developers relying upon Russian or Chinese test facilities and allowing the U.S. to be a competitive international resource for irradiation and testing services. In addition, constructing the VTR will enable the U.S. government to demonstrate advanced reactor technologies. READ MORE
INL News Release
IDAHO FALLS, IDAHO – Dr. John Wagner, associate laboratory director of Idaho National Laboratory’s Nuclear Science & Technology Directorate, has announced the selection of Christine King to serve as director of the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) initiative, effective Feb. 17. As director, King will lead efforts on behalf of the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Nuclear Energy to provide the nuclear community with access to the technical, regulatory and financial support necessary to move innovative nuclear energy technologies toward commercialization.
A Memorial Mass will be held at the Holy Trinity Catholic
Church 3513 N St., NW, Washington, DC, in Georgetown, on
Monday, January 13, at 10:30 am. Read More
The Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) announced today that two
nuclear companies will be provided GAIN Nuclear Energy (NE) Vouchers to accelerate the
innovation and application of advanced nuclear technologies. NE vouchers provide
advanced nuclear technology innovators with access to the extensive nuclear research
capabilities and expertise available across the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) national
laboratory complex. This is the first round of awards in FY 2020. READ MORE
The Energy Department has granted compact fast reactor developer Oklo Inc. a permit to build a small nuclear reactor at the Idaho National Laboratory.
Oklo, which will announce the landmark development Tuesday, is the first non-light water power reactor design to receive a site use permit, effective for the lifetime of the plant.
The permit is a critical milestone on the path toward deployment of Oklo’s 1.5-megawatt Aurora plant, which company co-founders Jacob DeWitte and Caroline Cochran unveiled at an invitation-only event in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 7, and later announced more widely on Dec. 2. READ MORE
Washington, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) awarded nearly $3.5 million to X-energy today to further the development of its advanced nuclear reactor. The project will examine ways to reduce construction and maintenance costs of the developer’s Xe-100 reactor design.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, in a bipartisan vote of 70-15 the United States Senate confirmed Dan Brouillette to be the 15th U.S. Secretary of Energy. An official swearing in will take place at a later date. Prior to confirmation, Acting Secretary Brouillette served as the Deputy Secretary of Energy under Secretary Rick Perry. READ MORE
Battelle Energy Alliance, LLC (BEA), the managing and operating contractor for the Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory (INL) in Idaho Falls, Idaho, is seeking an Expression of Interest (EOI) from industry stakeholders interested in forming a partnership to achieve maximum progress in deployment of the Versatile Test Reactor (VTR).
The scope of such a Partnership could include but not be limited to the development and deployment of a new fast neutron testing capability (VTR), other uses of VTR capabilities beyond just advanced reactors design and licensing, reducing the cost and schedule risk of new nuclear plant design and construction and other compatible uses of VTR capabilities. READ MORE
TRISO (TRi-structural ISOtropic) particle fuel has been developed for use in modular high temperature gas reactors (HTGR) designed to passively maintain core temperatures below fission product release thresholds under all licensing basis events and accident scenarios. This webinar will give and overview of the US DOE Advanced Gas Reactor (AGR) TRISO Fuel Qualification and Development Program's activities focused on enhancing TRISO fuel performance by using uranium osicarbide (UCO) fuel kernels and improving coated particle and compact fabrication methods for deployment in advanced HTGRs were radioactive releases are significantly reduced at the plant exclusion boundary. READ MORE
IDAHO FALLS, IDAHO – Dr. John Wagner, associate laboratory director of Idaho National Laboratory’s Nuclear Science & Technology Directorate, has announced the selection of Dr. Ashley Finan to serve as director, and Nicholas Smith to serve as deputy director of the INL-based National Reactor Innovation Center. As NRIC directors, Finan and Smith will lead efforts to accelerate the testing, demonstration and commercialization of innovative reactor technologies in the United States. READ MORE
Earlier this week ARPA-E issued a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) of up to $35 million in funding for a new program, Generating Electricity Managed by Intelligent Nuclear Assets (GEMINA). GEMINA projects will develop tools and systems to enable more flexible, less costly nuclear power plants. The GEMINA program will develop digital twin technology for advanced nuclear reactors, using artificial intelligence and advanced modeling controls to create tools that introduce greater flexibility in nuclear reactor systems, increased autonomy in operations, and faster design iteration. The development of these digital twins will work towards a goal to contribute to a 10x reduction in operating and management (O&M) costs at advanced reactor power plants. For more information on ARPA-E's GEMINA program, click here. The deadline to submit a concept paper for GEMINI is 9:30 a.m. ET on November 13, 2019. Additional information, including the full FOA and how to find project teaming partners, is available on ARPA-E's online application portal, ARPA-E eXCHANGE.
A major design goal for Generation IV nuclear energy systems is to reduce or eliminate the likelihood and/or extent of reactor core damage incurred during an off-normal operating event, thereby eliminating the need for offsite emergency response. One approach for achieving this objective is to develop inherently safe reactor designs that can passively dissipate decay heat to the environment without relying on operator action during an event of this type. Historically, this approach has been taken for both sodium- and gas-cooled Generation IV reactor types by providing Reactor Cavity Cooling Systems (RCCS) that are designed to passively dissipate decay heat to the environment by natural convection while maintain fuel temperature below the threshold for onset of core damage.
This presentation will begin by providing a high level overview of RCCS systems that have been developed for advanced reactor designs over the years. This will be followed by a summary of large scale integral effect tests that are currently underway at Argonne to provide licensing-quality data for two of these systems; i.e., air- and water-cooled RCCS concepts. SEE FLYER
Nuclear Energy forum hosted on October 1st by the State of Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC).
Attached Summary and Presentations: READ MORE
The Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) announced today that two nuclear companies will be provided GAIN Nuclear Energy (NE) Vouchers to accelerate the innovation and application of advanced nuclear technologies. NE vouchers provide advanced nuclear technology innovators with access to the extensive nuclear research capabilities and expertise available across the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratory complex. This is the fourth set of awards in FY 2019. READ MORE
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced funding selectees for multiple domestic advanced nuclear technology projects. Three projects in three states will receive varying amounts for a total of approximately $15 million in funding. The projects are cost-shared and will allow industry-led teams, including participants from federal agencies, public and private laboratories, institutions of higher education, and other domestic entities, to advance the state of U.S. commercial nuclear capability. READ MORE
The Fiscal Year 2020 Technology Commercialization Fund (TCF) funding opportunity announcement has been released and is available here. TCF leverages research and development funding in the applied energy programs to mature promising energy technologies with high impact potential. TCF works to expand the commercial impact of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) portfolio of research, development, demonstration, and deployment activities. National laboratory-led proposals cover two topic areas: Topic Area 1: Projects for which additional technology maturation is needed to attract a private partner. Topic Area 2: Cooperative development projects between a lab and industry partner(s), designed to bolster the commercial application of a lab developed technology. READ MORE
To support United States leadership in the development and demonstration of microreactor technologies, Idaho National Laboratory (INL) is providing the opportunity for access to High Assay Low Enriched Uranium (HALEU) for the development of fuel and subsequent demonstration of microreactor technology on the INL site. The goal of this opportunity is to accelerate demonstration of commercially viable microreactor technologies.
DOE-NE announces the release of the FY2020 Funding Opportunity Announcements for Consolidated Innovative Nuclear Research (DE-FOA-0002128) and Scientific Infrastructure Support for Consolidated Innovative Research (DE-FOA-0002129). Official copies of the documents are available at Grants.gov. Applications are to be submitted to neup.gov. Copies of professional courtesy are available at the following links:
Consolidated Innovative Nuclear Research (DE-FOA-0002128)
Scientific Infrastructure Support for Consolidated Innovative Research (DE-FOA-0002129)
CINR Schedule (all deadlines are 7 PM ET):
September 4, 2019: Letter of Intent (Mandatory only for NSUF Applications) September 24, 2019: R&D/NSUF Pre-Applications (Mandatory except for IRPs) November 21, 2019: NSUF Preliminary Statement of Work January 23, 2020: NSUF Final Statement of Work February 11, 2020: Full R&D Applications February 11, 2020: IRP Applications
Infrastructure Applications are due at 5 PM ET on November 13, 2019
Submit an Application
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced today the launch of the National Reactor Innovation Center (NRIC). The new initiative will assist with the development of advanced nuclear energy technologies by harnessing the world-class capabilities of the DOE national laboratory system.
Authorized by the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act, NRIC will provide private sector technology developers the necessary support to test and demonstrate their reactor concepts and assess their performance. This will help accelerate the licensing and commercialization of these new nuclear energy systems.
“NRIC will enable the demonstration and deployment of advanced reactors that will define the future of nuclear energy,” said U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry. “By bringing industry together with our national labs and university partners, we can enhance our energy independence and position the U.S. as a global leader in advanced nuclear innovation.”
Idaho National Laboratory unveiled its latest research building Thursday.
The two-story Research Collaboration Building is located next to the Materials and Fuels Complex at the U.S. Department of Energy desert site. It has 28
offices for MFC researchers, Nuclear Science User Facilities staff and long-term visitors, and 23 work stations and five collaboration stations where INL
scientists can work with scientists, researchers and students visiting from universities or other research institutions.
There also is a small non-radiation laboratory that will be used to develop and test instruments and equipment before they are installed in a radiological
facility. And, researchers in the Research Collaboration Building will be able to monitor research equipment at INL’s Irradiated Material Characterization
The setup will make it easier for INL researchers to collaborate with visitors and share ideas and research, said Mitch Meyer, director of characterization and
advanced post-irradiation examination
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is proving that good things really do come in small packages.
Researchers recently created new MiniFuel targets that could potentially save time and money when developing nuclear
This could dramatically accelerate fuel testing and completely change the way we create and qualify nuclear fuels.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) published a Notice of Intent in the Federal Register announcing that the department will develop an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to study the impacts of building a Versatile Test Reactor in the U.S. to test future fuels and materials that industry is designing for advanced civilian nuclear power reactors to provide large amounts of carbon-free, economical electricity for the nation’s power grid.
Issue Draft Notice of Opportunity: July 22, 2019
Industry Day (Washington, D.C.): August 7, 2019
Issue Notification of Opportunity: August 21, 2019
Requests Due: 5 pm EDT, September 20, 2019
Dr. Rita Baranwal is the new assistant secretary for nuclear energy, making her the first woman to lead the office at the U.S. Department of Energy.
As a strong advocate for nuclear energy, she brings more than 20 years of experience in the nuclear field and takes over a $1.3 billion portfolio to promote the research and development of current and advanced nuclear technologies. READ MORE
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry today officially swore in Dr. Rita Baranwal as the Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy. Dr. Baranwal, whom the U.S. Senate first confirmed on June 20, becomes the first woman to lead the Office of Nuclear Energy.
In her new role, Dr. Baranwal will lead the office’s efforts to promote research and development on existing and advanced nuclear technologies, maintain the existing fleet of nuclear reactors, and promote the development of a robust pipeline of advanced reactor designs and supply chain capabilities.
“It is an honor to be part of an organization that is leading the U.S. in game-changing, innovative nuclear technologies,” said Dr. Baranwal. “Advanced reactors are smaller, cleaner, and more efficient, and will equip the U.S. nuclear energy industry to lead the world in deployment, supplying urgently needed clean energy both domestically and globally.”
Dr. Baranwal has directed the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) initiative at Idaho National Laboratory since 2016. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) initiative connects industry with national laboratories to help commercialize nuclear technologies. Under her leadership, GAIN positively impacted 112 projects and companies. READ MORE