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
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