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Battelle making plans for Versatile Test Reactor


IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK)-Contract negotiations to support the design and build phase of the Versatile Test Reactor (VTR) are now underway.  Battelle Energy Alliance is working with a team led by Bechtel National, Inc. to design the on-of-a-kind facility to research clean nuclear technology.

A Request for Proposal was issued earlier this year and BEA selected the Bechtel team to start contract negotiations. 

“We received excellent proposals from industry, which is indicative of the support to build a fast-spectrum neutron testing facility in the United States,” said Mark Peters, Idaho National Laboratory director. “We are excited about the potential for working with the BNI-led team. They will bring a lot of design and construction expertise to the VTR project. This is essential since it has been several years since we built a test reactor in the United States.”

The Department of Energy Office of Nuclear Energy established the program in 2018 to address requests from U.S. companies for a fast spectrum test reactor and advanced reactor development.

According to DOE, there are currently very few facilities available for testing fast neutron reactor technology in the world, and none in the United States.

A team of INL experts and five other laboratories, 19 universities, and 9 industrial partners have been developing a conceptual design, cost estimate and schedule for the VTR project.

INL is also working on an Environmental Impact Statement to be used in making final decisions on the design, technology, and location for the reactor.   A final decision is expected in late 2021.  It could be complete as soon as 2026.

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