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U.S. Department of Energy Announces Public Hearings on the Draft Versatile Test Reactor Environmental Impact Statement

January 8, 2021

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will hold two webcast public hearings to present information and accept comments on the Draft Versatile Test Reactor Environmental Impact Statement (VTR EIS). DOE is hosting internet-based public hearings in place of in-person hearings due to ongoing public health concerns. 

The proposed VTR would be a sodium-cooled, fast-neutron-spectrum test reactor that will enhance and accelerate research, development, and demonstration of innovative nuclear energy technologies. The Draft VTR EIS, prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), analyzes the potential impacts of the VTR alternatives and options for reactor fuel production. 

The Draft VTR EIS evaluates:

  • A no-action alternative under which DOE would not pursue the construction and operation of a VTR.
  • Construction and operation of the VTR at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) or the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. This includes operating and performing experiments in the VTR, post-irradiation examination of irradiated test specimens in hot cell facilities, and spent fuel conditioning and storage pending offsite shipment;
  • Production of fuel for the VTR at INL and/or the Savannah River Site, including preparing feedstock for the fuel, fabricating fuel pins, and assembling the fuel pins into reactor fuel; and

Interested parties are invited to join either or both of the webcasts listed below. The webcasts will begin with an overview of the VTR and a presentation on the NEPA process and the Draft VTR EIS. Following the presentations, participants can provide oral comments on the Draft VTR EIS. Commenters will be allowed 3 minutes each. After all participants have had a chance to speak, a second 3-minute time allotment will be allowed, time permitting. The hearing will conclude after 2.5 hours or until there are no additional commenters, whichever occurs first.

Comments will be recorded and transcribed into the Final VTR EIS. You may pre-register to comment by sending an email to [email protected]. Join a meeting by clicking on one or both of the options below. Alternatively, you can listen to either or both meetings by calling the participant phone number. In order to comment during the webcast, participants must call in on the participant phone line.

Webcast Meeting Times and Phone Number

Participant phone number:
Wednesday, January 27, 2021
6:30p.m. (ET)
Thursday, January 28, 2021
8:30p.m. (ET)

Comments can also be submitted through the end of the public comment period, February 16, 2021, by email at [email protected]; by U.S mail to James Lovejoy, U.S. Department of Energy, Idaho Operations Office, 1955 Fremont Avenue, MS 1235, Idaho Falls, Idaho 83415; or by phone at (208) 526-6805.

Additional information about the project is available at:

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