13 Enhancing the Power Grid Test Bed INL enhanced its existing distribution infrastructure to expand the types of testing that can be conducted and increase flexibility for testing configurations. The Power Grid Test Bed Enhancement Project established a national capability for development and full-scale testing of smart-grid-related technologies and smart devices. For example, researchers can explore testing interoperability, operational performance, reliability, and resiliency at 15-kV, 25-kV and 35-kV distribution voltage classes. Remote casting of metal fuels INL has established the capability to study fuel recycling using small batches of irradiated fuels. Carried out remotely in shielded hot cells, the capability involves reducing oxide fuel to metal, melting, alloying, then casting metallic fuels. Electrochemical recycling studies of several irradiated fuel types can be performed in this equipment using convenient batches on the scale of 2 kg to 10 kg. Interchangeable components in the remote casting system allow injection or gravity-fed casting with small batches of up to 1 kg of fuel material. These flexible research systems now enable MFC programs to address important advanced fuel cycle research questions. Specialized welding for advanced fuel testing INL scientists are researching nuclear fuels that are more tolerant to accident conditions, utilize energy resources more efficiently and leave fewer Nuclear research facility engineers analyze samples using Electron Probe MicroAnalysis (EPMA). long-lived waste isotopes behind. To enable irradiation testing of these advanced fuels, a new capability was needed to perform welding on small- diameter, thin-walled cladding. A new welding system at the ATR Complex’s Test Train Assembly Facility provides a concentrated beam, allowing for narrow, deep welds and high welding rates while minimizing the heat-affected zone of the test components. The laser welder is equipped with a 700-watt continuous fiber laser, a major improvement for fuel rods requiring a hermetic seal for irradiation testing in ATR. Analyzing irradiated metallic fuel Researchers at the Irradiated Materials Characterization Laboratory have demonstrated the ability to perform accurate microchemical analysis of irradiated fuel. They performed Electron Probe MicroAnalysis (EPMA) on a full cross section of an irradiated fuel sample from the FUTURIX/DOE-1 experiment, conducted jointly with the French nuclear energy agency. The EPMA analysis provided first-of-a-kind information on a minor-actinide-bearing fast reactor fuel, which represents some of the first detailed information on the behavior of this complex fuel type.