b'Nuclear Reactor SUSTAINMENT AND EXPANDED DEPLOYMENTNUCLEAR ENERGY provides a fifth of the nations energy and 55% of the nations clean energy, andINL two steps closer toNational Reactor InnovationUpgrades to Advanced Test the demand is only increasing. That is where INL comes in. INLs long track record of nuclear energybringing Versatile Test Center works to build futureReactor Critical facility research and development, unique and expansive research facilities, and partnerships with bothReactor to U.S. of nuclearopens doors to more government and industry leave it poised to both help develop next-generation reactors as well asThe Versatile Test Reactor (VTR)Established in 2019 under the Nuclearcollaborationsustain the existing nuclear infrastructure.project passed a major milestone in lateEnergy Innovation Capabilities Act,Following the successful restart of the September when the U.S. Departmentthe National Reactor InnovationAdvanced Test Reactor Critical facilitys Automating reactorof Energy (DOE) approved CriticalCenter (NRIC) logged a number oflow-power research reactor in April operations with droneDecision-1, allowing the engineeringaccomplishments in 2020. Building2020, the improvements in reliability technology and digitaland design phase to begin. Later inawareness as the United Statesand availability have ATRC staff seeking automation 2020, DOE chose INL as the preferredleading resource for advanced nuclearto expand their customer base. One of The Light Water Reactor Sustainabilitysite for the test reactor.technology demonstration, NRICfour research and test reactors located (LWRS) program received twobegan development of a test bed,at INL, the ATRC is a low-power commercialization grants from DOE,The VTR is intended to generatecompleting initial siting evaluation ofcritical facility that directly supports both aimed at addressing concerns withneutrons at higher energy levels andeight national sites and nine potentialthe operation of INLs 250-megawatt legacy technology in nuclear plants.concentrations than current U.S. testreactor sites at INL. NRICs goal is toAdvanced Test Reactor (ATR). The first was for Remote Operablereactors, cutting the time it takes tosupport two demonstration reactors by Unmanned Navigation of Drones,test, develop and qualify new fuels,the end of 2025. To that end, in 2020,Featured in the October issue of the which was a finalist in the annualmaterials, instrumentation and sensors.it issued a request for proposals forAmerican Nuclear Societys Nuclear R&D 100 competition. The secondDOE established the VTR program inadvanced construction technology andNews magazine, ATRC recently was for Automated Logging of Analog2018, naming Idaho National Laboratoryestablished a resource team in supportunderwent a 21-month upgrade of its Johanna Oxstrand (left) and Katya Control Rooms. Both incorporateas the lead lab in partnership with sixof 18 Advanced Reactor Demonstrationdigital instrumentation and control LeBlanc (right) stand in the Human image processing, machine learning andnational labs, 19 universities and nineProgram (ARDP) proposal efforts. systems to ensure it can continue to Systems Simulation Laboratory. Oxstrand isadvanced control methods, enablingindustry partners. The project has gainedsupport ATR for several more decades. the principal investigator on this work, anddrones to self-navigate in indoorsignificant bipartisan congressional LeBlanc is a member of the research team. environment, such as those found atsupport, with nuclear plants, and inspect hard-to-reach$65 million locations. Likewise, digitizing dataallocated in FY New software makes nuclear control rooms morecollection from analog gauges saves2020. In 2020, efficient, less expensivemoney by eliminating two rounds ofINL contractor New software from INL improves plant control room operator efficiency, manual inspection by operators. TheBattelle Energy lowering associated costs and making it easier for staff to do their jobs.LWRS programs Plant ModernizationAlliance (BEA) Pathway addresses aging and reliabilityinitiated contract The software decision tool guides operators through the complex task of decidingconcerns with legacy instrumentation,negotiations with a team what steps to take next. Often, the next action depends upon current conditions,control technology and relatedled by Bechtel National and so there are many paths from activity start to finish. Before, staff had to consultinformation systems in the nationsInc. to support the design and checklists and static documents. Now, the software shows operators dynamic contentLWR fleet.build phase. that applies to the current situation.The tool has undergone extensive research and development. INL is further refining itThe Advanced Test Reactor is the in collaboration with GSE Systems. The software will first be deployed in the oil andworlds most powerful research gas industry and then in nuclear power plants. reactor and serves as the flagship irradiation facility in the U.S. 4 5'