The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has plans to build a nuclear test reactor in the United States, the government announced on Aug. 5.
DOE has published a notice of intent in the federal register to develop an environmental impact statement to study the impacts of the project, which would test future fuels and materials the industry is designing for advanced civilian nuclear power reactors.
The goal of these reactors is to provide large amounts of carbon-free, economical electricity for the nation’s power grid, according to DOE.
“This testing capability is essential for the United States to modernize its nuclear energy infrastructure and for developing transformational nuclear energy technologies that reduce waste generation and enhance nuclear security,” said U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry in a statement.
He added that lack of a reactor with versatile fast-neutron-spectrum testing capability is a “significant national strategic risk, affecting the ability of DOE to fulfill its mission to advance the energy, environmental, and nuclear security of the United States and promote scientific and technological innovation.”
DOE is considering the Idaho National Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory in eastern Tennessee as potential locations for the U.S. Versatile Test Reactor.
The public is invited to provide input on what DOE should include in the scope of the draft EIS through Sept. 4. After evaluating the comments, the EIS will be finalized and made public for 30 days before the department issues an official record of decision.