At the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory, nuclear experts are working with industry partners to develop tomorrow’s nuclear power plants. Their motivation: nuclear energy can drastically reduce U.S. dependence on greenhouse gas-emitting fossil fuels. This is important for the nation to meet its power needs without producing new carbon emissions.
Companies such as the ones below work with Argonne and other DOE national laboratories to create a new U.S. nuclear landscape.
ARC Clean Technology
Argonne partners with ARC Clean Technology to develop a U.S.-based sodium cooled reactor that has a long-lived core with an advanced power conversion system. The project could lead to many “small reactors” that can operate economically and efficiently, providing safe, viable energy resources worldwide.
Oklo Inc. works with Argonne on projects investigating used nuclear fuel recycling, which provides a sustainable source of fuel, may help lower the cost of fuel, and introduces cost-savings on hazardous waste storage. The work also includes developing advanced sensors that allow for early detection and diagnosis of plant repair, maintenance, and security.
TerraPower partners with Argonne to support the Natrium™ project in methods development for reactor design and licensing, fuel qualification, experiments for qualification of structural materials in high-temperature sodium environments, and fuel handling system component testing.
Terrestrial Energy USA, Inc. is developing an Integral Molten Salt Reactor (IMSR©) and partners with Argonne to measure properties such as heat capacity and thermal conductivity. This supports the licensing needed to commercialize nuclear power plants and presents a safer, more efficient, carbon-free way to produce electricity.
Westinghouse is pursuing liquid lead-cooled fast reactor technology. It uses the same suite of fast reactor computer codes supported by the DOE-NE’s Fast Reactor Program and looks to move beyond computer modeling to include development of ad-hoc experimental infrastructures. Westinghouse is committed to demonstrating the performance, efficiency, and safety of this type of technology.
X-energy engineers work with Argonne to model the Xe-100 reactor design’s fuel burnup rate, thermal efficiency, and waste output with increased precision. Once operational, Xe-100 may provide reliable, carbon-free, on-demand electricity to the power grid at multiple scales with less stress on the grid and lower costs.
SHINE Technologies and Argonne study the chemistry and technologies underpinning nuclear fuel recycling. This could help the U.S. meet nonproliferation goals, reduce waste production and the need to store that waste for long periods.
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