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INL talks ‘next generation’ in nuclear research and innovation

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IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - "The nuclear revolution" is what Idaho National Laboratory Director Mark Peters is calling the next seven years.

Peters spoke with the media Wednesday on the Department of Energy's announcement that it would be awarding two U.S. based companies $160 million in initial funding under the new Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program. The initial funding is aimed at building two advanced nuclear reactors that can be operational by 2027.

TerraPower, a Washington based corporation, was awarded $80 million to demonstrate the Natrium reactor, a sodium‐cooled fast reactor that leverages decades of development and design undertaken by TerraPower and its partner, GE‐Hitachi. X-energy, a corporation based in Rockville, MD, was also awarded $80 million to deliver a commercial four-unit nuclear power plant based on its Xe-100 reactor design.

"INL supports both finalists, as well as the other applicants who will be considered for DOE's advanced reactor risk reduction and ARC 20 awards in the next phase of the Advanced Reactor Demonstration Project," Peters said.

Peters said they will be working alongside the INL to build the 'first of its kind' advanced reactors. INL will be playing a key role in supporting DOE-NE as they accelerate the innovation taking place in the U.S. nuclear energy industry, which will open a slew of opportunities for the physical development and economical growth of Idaho.

"There's research that we're providing, for example, TerraPower and X-energy. Separate from those projects, there's multiple companies that are talking to us about siting their demonstrations here. So, there is huge job opportunities and growth opportunities for eastern Idaho and the whole region as a part of this," Peters said.

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