March 01, 2019

Crapo, Risch Sponsored Legislation Brings Test Reactor to Idaho National Lab

Versatile Test Reactor is foundational project specified in Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act

Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry announced the launch of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Versatile Fast Neuron Source, also known as the Versatile Test Reactor (VTR).  The project, based at the Idaho National Lab (INL), is a foundational project specified in the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act (NEICA) of 2017, which Idaho Senator Mike Crapo introduced, and Idaho Senator Jim Risch co-sponsored. 

“The launch of the Versatile Test Reactor at the Idaho National Lab paves the way for a new generation of clean, advanced nuclear power,” said Crapo.   “NEICA underscores the strong bipartisan agreement in Congress that nuclear energy is a reliable, safe, clean and efficient part of our national energy portfolio.  The work done at INL leads the way in maintaining U.S. leadership in nuclear innovation, and the VTR project sets an important milestone in enabling a robust future of advanced reactors.” 

“As our nation’s flagship nuclear energy laboratory, there is no better home than the Idaho National Lab for the Versatile Test Reactor,” said Senator Risch.  “Now more than ever, it is important that nuclear power is part of our ‘all-of-the-above’ American energy strategy and with the VTR, I am confident that the men and women at the INL will pioneer the next generation of nuclear reactors.  I look forward to working with the Administration as they continue to implement NEICA this year.”

Senators Crapo and Risch introduced NEICA (S. 97) on January 11, 2017, to direct the DOE to prioritize partnerships with private innovators—like those at INL—to test and demonstrate advanced reactor concepts.  NEICA had broad, bipartisan support in both congressional chambers and was signed into law on September 28, 2018. 

Additional Background on Crapo’s work to support the INL: