Recently, the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) received a shipment of new-generation light water reactor fuel from a commercial nuclear power plant for the first time in twenty years.

Advanced Test Reator located at Idaho National Laboratory.

Advanced Test Reator located at Idaho National Laboratory. Photo credit: Stock Image

Westinghouse Electric Company produced these 25 rods of experimental fuel while INL and other national laboratories offered technical support. The fuels are designed to improve safety, extend use and decrease customer spending on nuclear energy.

The fuels will undergo initial testing under normal conditions before being evaluated for their reactions in controlled accident conditions as well as storing and recycling conditions. The hope is that the fuels will increase nuclear plants’ resilience under these potential accident conditions.

Routine Cleaning of Advanced Test Reactor.

Routine Cleaning of Advanced Test Reactor. Photo credit: Stock Images

These series of tests will be a deciding factor in qualifying the fuel’s use at nuclear power plants across the country according to the standards of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

“Receiving these fuel rods is a significant milestone for INL and the nuclear energy industry,” said John Wagner, the INL director, in a recent press release. “As the nation’s nuclear energy research and development center, we possess the unique facilities, capabilities and expertise to perform this vital research.”

For more information visit the INL website.