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Mission Need

The mission of the VTR program is to provide leading edge capability for accelerated testing and qualification of advanced fuels and materials enabling the U.S. to regain and sustain technology leadership in the area of advanced reactor systems.

Versatile Test Reactor Overview

Virtual Tour of a Versatile Test Reactor



Partnership for Versatile Test Reactor
November 18, 2019
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 for full Announcement


DOE Announces Preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement to Examine Building a Versatile Test Reactor in the U.S.
August 5, 2019
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.
 
“This testing capability is essential for the United States to modernize its nuclear energy infrastructure and for developing transformational nuclear energy technologies that reduce waste generation and enhance nuclear security,” said U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry.  “Lack of a domestic reactor with versatile fast-neutron-spectrum testing capability is a significant national strategic risk affecting the ability of DOE to fulfill its mission to advance the energy, environmental, and nuclear security of the United States and promote scientific and technological innovation.” 

“DOE needs to develop this capability on an accelerated schedule to avoid further delay in the United States’ ability to develop and deploy advanced nuclear energy technologies,” said U.S. Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy Rita Baranwal. “If this capability is not available to U.S. innovators as soon as possible, the ongoing shift of nuclear technology dominance to other international states such as China and the Russian Federation will accelerate, to the detriment of the U.S. nuclear industrial sector. Beginning the NEPA process at this time will ensure that all environmental factors are considered before the Department makes a final decision to move forward with the project.”
  
DOE news release
 
 
DOE news: Secretary Perry launches Versatile Test Reactor Project
February 28, 2018
According to a DOE news release today, U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry announced the launch of DOE's Versatile Fast Neutron Source, also referred to as the Versatile Test Reactor (VTR), one of the foundational projects specified in the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act of 2017.

"U.S. test reactors and user facilities are one reason the United States has maintained an international leadership role in nuclear energy research and development," said Idaho National Laboratory Director Mark Peters. "We currently do not have the fast neutron spectrum research facilities in the U.S. necessary to enable a robust future for advanced reactors. DOE's announcement about the versatile test reactor project is the first important milestone in establishing this capability, and prioritizes investment in this user facility that will serve the science community, industry, regulators and the future of nuclear energy research and innovation."

The Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act of 2017 (NEICA, S.97, which was enacted into law in September 2018) included provisions for a Versatile Neutron Source and directs the Energy secretary to determine the mission need for a versatile reactor-based fast neutron source operating as a national user facility – as well as a deadline, to the maximum extent practicable – to complete construction and approve the start of the VTR operations by December 2025. INL will lead the VTR project.

DOE news release


Versatile Test Reactor Factsheet

          

VTR Factsheet Printable Version