b'P ROVING THE P RINCIPLEINEEL 87-0623-1-11 INEEL 90-1-53-4 INEEL 91-328-4Don Ofte Augustine Pitrolo John Wilcynskiand minimize waste now were driving the first round, forty were funded, and intended to promote it as importantreactor research. Scientists considered five of these went to the INEEL. Thwork that needed to be done well. 15econcepts for gas-cooled or liquid-lead- scale of the program was modest com-cooled reactors and studied new ideas pared to the earlier thrusts to create a At the Chem Plant, which changed itson corrosion-resistant materials and nuclear navy and a nuclear power indus- name in 1999 to Idaho Nuclearcladding that might allow higher tem- tr , but it invited new concepts and Technology and Engineering Center yperatures and more-economical opera- proof-of-principle opportunities. (INTEC), the mission continued totion. Other analysts continued the focus on the technologies of receivingtradition of reactor safety work for the At Argonne-West, scientists likewise and storing spent fuel or calcining theNuclear Regulatory Commission: continued to promote the philosophy waste still remaining at the plant. Theupdating safety codes for commercial behind the IFR, if not the IFR itself. In reprocessing facilities, in which soreactors, improving the human interface the aftermath of the EBR-II shutdown, much had been invested, remained onwith reactor control systems, analyzing something had to be done with the IFR standby in case a new mission for themsteady-state and transient thermo- fuel that had been tested. It had been should emerge. Because the Chemhydraulic phenomena in reactors. 14 designed for burnup and recycling, not Plant engineers, scientists, and man-storage or chemical reprocessing. agers had acquitted themselves so wellIn 1997 DOE Headquarters established a Argonne took five percent of the IFR in their handling of high-level radioac-Nuclear Energy Research Initiative fuel, developed a way of stabilizing it tive wastes, hazards and problems in(NERI), a program that invited scientists using an electro-metallurgical treat- Idaho were much less urgent than theyand engineers from all over the DOE ment, and proposed to apply the treat- were at other DOE reprocessing facili-complex to collaborate with each other, ment to the rest of the fuel. Beyond ties. Money to deal with urgent prob-private companies, and universities. their own waste fuel, Argonne scien- lems went elsewhere in the DOEThey were to propose their best ideas for tists felt that an industry-wide concen- system, a fact that sometimes seemed tonuclear research and request funds to tration on the tail end of the fuel old Chem Plant employees an ironiccarry it out. Three hundred bids entered cycle was long past due, and they reward for good behavior. 16252'