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Argonne Impacts State by State

Argonne’s collaborations in Idaho and across the United States have led to groundbreaking discoveries and development of new technologies that help meet the nation’s needs for sustainable energy, economic prosperity, and security.

DOE summer school’ trains early-career nuclear scientists, engineers

Caption: The 2020 MeV Summer School central theme is Risk-informed Methods and Applications in the Nuclear Energy Community.” (Image by SpaceKris/ Shutterstock.)

Two of Idaho’s research institutes join annually with the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory and others to sponsor the Modeling, Experimentation and Validation (MeV) Summer School. The event invites early-career nuclear scientists and engineers worldwide to learn about and explore the latest findings in nuclear science and engineering.

The MeV faculty comprise technical leaders from U.S. national laboratories, universities, government,  business and international partners.

Founded in 2009, MeV is a collaboration of Argonne and DOE’s Idaho and Oak Ridge national laboratories, Idaho State University and the DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy. The three national laboratories take turns hosting MeV; Idaho National Laboratory will host the event in 2020.

Argonne partners with Idaho laboratory to build nuclear reactor

The VTR will allow nuclear engineers to try out different fuels, coolants and other reactor components as they evaluate new technologies for future generations of advanced nuclear reactors. (Image by Argonne National Laboratory.)

Idaho National Laboratory, in conjunction with Argonne and other partners, is leading the DOE’s Versatile Test Reactor (VTR) project. The first such construction project in the United States in several decades, the new test nuclear reactor will enable irradiation testing at much higher neutron intensity than currently available.

The nuclear industry has expressed interest in new advanced reactor concepts that the VTR could soon be supporting. This project marks the first step in paving the way for future innovative reactor designs and will help accelerate the testing of advanced nuclear fuels, materials, instrumentation and sensors. VTR will provide the test capability using a pool-type, sodium-cooled metal-alloy-fueled reactor technology that uses experience with similar designs in the U.S.

Argonne leads the VTR core design and safety analysis and supports project management leadership. Other project partners include DOE’s Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, Pacific Northwest and Savannah River national laboratories as well as a host of industry and university partners. Completion is planned for 2026.