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DOE launches new demonstration center for advanced nuclear technologies

The US Department of Energy (DOE) launched the National Reactor Innovation Center (NRIC). The new initiative will assist with the development of advanced nuclear energy technologies by harnessing the world-class capabilities of the DOE national laboratory system.

Authorized by the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act, NRIC will provide private sector technology developers the necessary support to test and demonstrate their reactor concepts and assess their performance. This will help accelerate the licensing and commercialization of these new nuclear energy systems.

NRIC will be led by Idaho National Laboratory and builds upon the successes of DOE’s Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) initiative. GAIN connects industry with the national labs to accelerate the development and commercialization of advanced nuclear technologies. NRIC will coordinate with industry, other federal institutions, the national labs, and universities on testing and demonstrating these concepts.

The Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act was signed into law in 2018 by President Trump and eliminates some of the financial and technological barriers standing in the way of nuclear innovation. It directs DOE to facilitate the siting of advanced reactor research demonstration facilities through partnerships between DOE and private industry.

The House Energy and Water Development committee has allocated $5 million in the FY2020 budget for NRIC, which plans to demonstrate small modular reactor and micro-reactor concepts within the next five years.

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