IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - The U.S. Department of Energy announced the launch of the National Reactor Innovation Center (NRIC) Wednesday.
"We couldn't say in the legislation 'it has to go to Idaho' but everyone knew Idaho was the place it had to go because earned...not only earned, Idaho had shown that if we want this to work, this is where this new project needs to come," said U.S. Senator, Mike Crapo.
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.
NRIC will provide private sector technology developers the necessary support to test and demonstrate their reactor concepts and assess their performance which will help the licensing and commercialization of these new nuclear energy systems.
NRIC will be led by Idaho National Laboratory and builds upon the successes of the DOE's Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) initiative.
"The future not just for Idaho or America, but for the world, one of the most significant sources of power that we need," said Senator Mike Crapo.
The NRIC will provide private sector technology developers access to the strategic infrastructures and assets of the national laboratories.
"We're not at an end, indeed we're at the beginning of the next generation of nuclear reactors. This is going to play an important role in the partnership between industry and government as new reactors are developed and their safety is tested in all the kinds of testing that they do," said U.S. Senator, James Risch.
Director of the INL, Dr. Mark Peters says there are a lot of interested private sector companies in the advanced nuclear energy field that are already talking to the lab and have been for years.
"Bringing the private sector and the laboratory together as part of the National Reactor Innovation Center, it's a logical extension of what we've been doing in helping the advanced reactor community sort of mature their ideas. Now they're ready to move to the next step and actually think about lets go demonstrate these concepts and get first of a kind deployment in the U.S. and quite frankly abroad as nuclear energy expands across the globe, and that will happen here at INL and here in eastern Idaho, so it's a tremendous opportunity," said Peters.