The Idaho National Laboratory is resuming operations at the Transient Reactor Test (TREAT) facility. The facility, used for nuclear energy transient testing capability, has been shut down and maintained in standby status since 1994.
A low power run today rounded out completion of extensive inspection and refurbishment activities over the past few years.
TREAT is specifically designed to test nuclear reactor fuels and materials under extreme conditions. According to INL, the facility can produce sudden bursts of energy that are more than five times more powerful than a commercial power plant. The capability of examining fuel performance in those circumstances is an important part of increasing the safety and performance of current and future nuclear reactors.
“The Department of Energy’s decision to restore transient testing capability at INL is part of our efforts to revitalize the nation’s nuclear energy capacity,” said Ed McGinnis, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy. “By investing in innovative fuel cycle infrastructure, we can advance nuclear as a key source of clean, resilient power and maintain U.S. leadership in developing advanced nuclear technologies.”
INL Laboratory Director Mark Peters said, “This teamwork resulted in resumption of operations being accomplished 12 months ahead of schedule and for nearly $20 million less than originally estimated.”
The laboratory plans to prepare for reactor transient operations and performance of the first new transient experiments in 2018.
You can learn more about the TREAT facility here.