the bulletin

DOE-NARUC Nuclear Energy Partnership Visits Idaho National Laboratory

By Kiera Zitelman, Technical Manager, Center for Partnerships and Innovation

On June 28 and 29, a group of 25 commissioners and commission staff representing 13 states toured nuclear research sites at Idaho National Laboratory (INL) in eastern Idaho. Driving west from Idaho Falls to INL’s desert nuclear facilities, the group started the tour at the Experimental Breeder Reactor-I (EBR-I) National Historic Landmark and museum to learn about the history of nuclear energy research in

Experimental Breeder Reactor

Idaho. On December 20, 1951, EBR-I became the first power plant to produce electricity using atomic energy, and in 1953 the plant demonstrated that a reactor could breed more fuel than it consumed. Displays also showed and discussed EBR-II, which operated at scale to produce power for the national laboratory complex from 1964 to 1994. From the museum, the group visited three sites where INL researchers are helping to advance the next generation of nuclear reactors: the Advanced Test Reactor, Materials and Fuels Complex, and Transient Test Reactor.

During the second day of the visit, the group toured INL’s Idaho Falls facilities, including the Energy Systems Laboratory, Center for Advanced Energy Studies, Collaborative Computing Center, and

Transient Test Reactor

Cybercore Integration Center. Commissioners and commission staff saw demonstrations of a NuScale control room simulator, 3D visualizations of the Advanced Test Reactor and outputs from LiDAR technology (in this case, vegetation growing near a transmission line), and the Human Systems Simulation Laboratory, where nuclear operators can test new technologies and processes before they are implemented in real control rooms.

This two-day visit showed how INL is leading in the research, development, and demonstration of advanced nuclear technologies. Commissioners and commission staff returned to their states with an improved understanding of the history and trajectory of nuclear energy and the extensive research and testing being conducted to support the utilization of advanced nuclear technologies. This visit was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy-NARUC Nuclear Energy Partnership, with 

Human Systems Simulation Laboratory

additional support from the Nuclear Energy Institute.