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DOE Microreactor Program

Through cross-cutting research and development and technology demonstration support, the Microreactor Program will enable broad deployment of microreactor technology by:

  • Achieving technological breakthroughs for key features of microreactors
  • Identifying and addressing technology solutions to improve the economic viability and licensing readiness of microreactors
  • Enabling successful demonstrations of multiple domestic commercial microreactors

What are Microreactors?

Microreactors are a class of very small modular reactors targeted for non-conventional nuclear markets. The US Department of Energy supports a variety of advanced reactor designs, including gas, liquid-metal, molten-salt, and heat-pipe-cooled concepts. In the U.S., microreactor developers are currently focused on designs that could be deployed as early as the mid-2020s.

Potential Microreactor applications are:

  • Remote communities
  • Mining sites
  • Remote defense bases
  • Applications such as back -up generation for power plants
  • Humanitarian assistance and sister relief missions

Key Attributes

Microreactors have key feature enabled by their small size that distinguish them from other reactor types mainly large reactors (LWRs) and small modular reactors (SMRs).

These are:

  • Typically produce less than 20 MWth
  • Smaller footprint
  • Factory fabrication
  • Transportable
  • Self-regulating (enabling remote and semi-autonomous microreactor operation)
  • Rapid deploy-ability and availability during emergency response
  • Possible Operation up to 10 years or more

What are National Laboratories Doing?

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Microreactor Program was established to support research and development (R&D) of technologies related to the development, demonstration and deployment of very small, transportable reactors to provide power and heat for decentralized generation in civilian, industrial and defense energy sectors.

Led by Idaho National Laboratory (INL), the program conducts both fundamental and applied R&D to reduce the risks associated with new technology performance and manufacturing readiness of microreactors. The intent of the program is to ensure that microreactor concepts can be licensed and deployed by commercial entities to meet specific use case requirements. The program will also support R&D specific to certain reactor technologies to ensure relevancy and address the needs of commercial developers.

Who is partnering with the National Laboratories?

​The U.S. DOE Microreactor Program collaborates and interfaces with other DOE programs and activities to advance its mission to support development and deployment of microreactor concepts. DOE has several programs covering a range of technologies relevant to microreactor development. The program will engage with these programs through the DOE Office of Nuclear Energy planning process, coordination meetings, and review and planning meetings to ensure that scope is aligned and not duplicative.

Associated Programs

Advanced Reactor Technology (ART) Program
Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E)
Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN)
National Reactor Innovation Center (NRIC)
Nuclear Energy Enabling Technologies (NEET) Programs
Nuclear Energy University Program (NEUP)
Transformational Challenge Reactor (TCR)


U.S. DOE Program Manager

Diana Li
[email protected]
Office: (301) 903-1503

National Technical Director

John Jackson
[email protected]
Office: (208) 526-0293

Technical Area Leads

System Integration & Analyses

Alexander Huning
Fusion and Fission Energy
Sciences Directorate
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
[email protected]
Office: (865) 574-7368

Technology Maturation

Holly Trellue
Nuclear Engineering & Nonproliferation Division
Los Alamos National Laboratory
[email protected]
Office: (505) 665-9539

Demonstration Support Capabilities

Nuclear Science & Technology
Idaho National Laboratory
[email protected]
Office: (208) 526-6494

Microreactor Application

John Jackson
Nuclear Science and Technology
Idaho National Laboratory
[email protected]
Office: (208) 526-0293

Information Sheets

Program Plans

Organizational Structure

Technical Reports


Verification and Validation (Experimental Results)

  • MAGNET (will be available soon)

In the News

Meetings and Workshops

March 5-6, 2024: Microreactor Program Review
March 7, 2024: MARVEL Technology Review

March 8-9, 2023: Microreactor Program Winter Review

October 19-20, 2022: MARVEL Technology Review

March 3-4, 2022: Microreactor Program Winter Review

Participating National Laboratories

Participating Universities
(Through Nuclear Energy University Program)

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