U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry has announced the launch of the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Versatile Fast Neutron Source, which the DOE calls one of the key projects under the Innovation Capabilities Act of 2017.
“Specifically, the legislation establishes the National Reactor Innovation Center to facilitate the siting of privately funded advanced reactor prototypes at DOE sites through partnerships between the Department of Energy and private industry,” according to the gov track website.
The Versatile Test Reactor (VTR) project, “will give American companies the ability they currently lack to conduct advanced technology and fuel tests without having to go to our competitors in Russia and China,” said DOE Secretary Rick Perry.
The capacities of the VTR have not been available in the United States for 20 years, according to the World Nuclear Association.
The fast neutron testing capability “will help the United States meet its goal for advanced nuclear reactor technology development,” the DOE said. Perry noted the facility is “a key step to implementing President Trump’s direction to revitalize and expand the U.S. nuclear industry.
The Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act of 2017 directed the DOE’s secretary to determine the mission need for a versatile reactor-based fast neutron source operating as a national user facility, as well as a deadline, to the maximum extent practicable in order to complete construction and approve the start of operations by December 2025. The Idaho National Laboratory has been designated as the lead agency to handle the project.
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It is about time that we are trying to move nuclear power forward. The cleanest, least environmentally damaging and most efficient power source available at this time.
We also need a test reactor for molten salt coolants.
The military will continue with nuclear energy uses for the foreseeable future; but commercial nuclear power will be dead in the US in 20 years. RIP to a fine industry.