6 Leadership NATIONAL Supporting advanced reactor development INL leads the U.S. Department of Energy’s Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) initiative. Its mission is to provide access to technical, regulatory and financial support that the nuclear energy industry needs in order to quickly and cost-effectively move innovative nuclear energy technologies toward commercialization. During FY 2017, GAIN convened important discussions on the structure of federal regulations, research and financial assistance programs related to advanced nuclear energy systems. In June, a second round of the GAIN Vouchers Program awarded $4.2 million to 14 applicants, more than double the FY 2016 award funding. The vouchers provide access to the extensive nuclear research capabilities and expertise available across the U.S. DOE national laboratory complex. Meeting national bioenergy cost goal INL’s bioenergy researchers met a major milestone by reducing the modeled cost of harvesting, storing, transporting and preprocessing biomass to $82.86 per dry ton (down from a 2013 estimate of $149.58 per dry ton). The modeled cost beats a DOE performance goal of $84.45 per dry ton from harvest to the biorefinery reactor throat, including the grower payment. The success resulted from the combined efforts of multiple INL projects. One project implemented efficiencies to reduce the cost of biomass grinding and pelleting operations; another used adaptive controls to improve processing plant throughput; a third considered biomass characteristics to optimize blends and least-cost formulations. INL engineers helped improve biomass processing efficiency to meet a DOE cost goal.