By Editors of Power Engineering
After more than a decade of being on standby, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory resumed operations at the Transient Reactor Test Facility.
TREAT tests nuclear reactor fuels and materials under extreme conditions, and can produce bursts of energy more than five times more powerful than a commercial power plant, allowing scientists to examine fuel performance.
“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.”
The resumption of operations came after extensive inspection and refurbishment activities undertaken over the last few years, including the evaluation and assessment of reactor systems and a low-power run undertaken this week.
The first new transient experiments will be undertaken in 2018.
TREAT was shut down in 1994 due to reduced funding and a move away from nuclear power, according to the Associated Press.