US restarts nuclear test reactor after 23 years

A nuclear energy facility which tests reactor fuels and materials under extreme conditions has been restarted in the US. The Transient Reactor Test Facility (TREAT) at Idaho National Laboratory (INL) […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

A nuclear energy facility which tests reactor fuels and materials under extreme conditions has been restarted in the US.

The Transient Reactor Test Facility (TREAT) at Idaho National Laboratory (INL) started operations in 1959 and conducted thousands of experiments until it was shut down and maintained in standby status since 1994.

TREAT can produce sudden bursts of energy that are more than five times more powerful than a commercial power plant, allowing scientists to examine fuel performance.

It is an important asset to increasing the safety and performance of current and future nuclear reactors as well as solving the challenge of building zero emission baseload power generation.

Ed McGinnis, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy said: “The Department of Energy’s decision to restore transient testing capability at INL is part of our efforts to revitalise the nation’s nuclear energy capacity.

“By investing in innovative fuel cycle infrastructure, we can advance nuclear as a key source of clean, resilient power and maintain US leadership in developing advanced nuclear technologies.”

The reactor will resume testing fuels next year.