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Awards and Recognition | Argonne National Laboratory

Argonne National Laboratory flexes capabilities with receipt of four nuclear innovation vouchers

Lab with historical roots in nuclear energy demonstrates prowess at forefront of innovation

Signaling a powerful turn toward cutting-edge solutions in clean energy, Argonne received four vouchers to work closely with companies on nuclear innovation projects.

A decade that began with a global shutdown is a third of the way done. Its finale — a major deadline for reducing U.S. carbon emissions to slow climate change — approaches at the usual clip. With the decade’s halfway mark in view, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) awarded seven new vouchers to companies and national laboratories working to develop and commercialize clean nuclear energy projects. Nuclear energy is considered central to efforts to minimize carbon emissions and still reliably meet rising demand for electricity.

DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory will work with companies on four of the first seven GAIN vouchers.

Industry partnerships with DOE’s world-class national laboratories are integral to the scientific advancements and innovative technologies that change the world into the better place we all envision,” said Temitope Taiwo, director of Argonne’s Nuclear Science and Engineering (NSE) division. Argonne is always proud to work closely with industry to make that vision a reality. These four new GAIN awards are especially exciting.”

The companies singled out to accelerate innovation and application of advanced nuclear technologies are located throughout the country, including the East Coast and West Coast. Four will work closely with scientists and engineers near the heart of the Midwest, at historically famous Argonne. Argonne is located just outside of Chicago, where Italian physicist Enrico Fermi first proved with the Chicago Pile-1 experiment that a self-sustained, controlled nuclear chain reaction was possible. That success led to establishment of the national laboratory system, including a thriving Argonne, where scientists and engineers continue to demonstrate prowess at the forefront of innovation.

Four Argonne projects gain vouchers

ARC Clean Technology, Inc., based in Washington, D.C., will work with Argonne to update simulation software with additional passive heat removal capabilities. This will help better model ARC Clean Technology’s sodium-cooled reactor design. Dan O’Grady, nuclear engineer in NSE, will spearhead the project for Argonne.

Industry partnerships with DOE’s world-class national laboratories are integral to the scientific advancements and innovative technologies that change the world into the better place we all envision. Argonne is always proud to work closely with industry to make that vision a reality.” — Temitope Taiwo, director of Argonne’s Nuclear Science and Engineering division

Energy Northwest, based in Richland, Wash., will work with Argonne to use climate forecasting to inform the design and selection of future nuclear reactor cooling systems and their impacts on electricity cost. Rick Vilim, manager of NSE’s Plant Analysis and Control and Sensors department, leads Argonne’s effort.

Global Nuclear Fuels - Americas, based in Wilmington, N.C., will partner with Argonne to confirm the viability of an electroreduction technology. The technology will convert uranium oxide fuel stock into a metal that can be used for advanced reactor fuel. Mark Williamson, director of Argonne’s Chemical Fuel Cycle and Technologies (CFCT) division, will lead the project with CFCT colleagues Bill Ebert, manager of the Pyroprocess and Materials Development department, and Krista Hawthorne, section manager for pyroprocess engineering.     

SHINE Technologies, based in Janesville, Wis., will partner with Argonne and DOE’s Sandia National Laboratories to assess sensor technologies and their placement in a fuel recycling system. These technologies can help ensure that nuclear materials are adequately tracked. The approach will integrate a suite of instruments and computer codes created to model the system. Nathaniel Hoyt, group manager of process chemistry, simulation and safeguards in CFCT, is the Argonne lead for this project. 

Businesses can rely on the expertise, facilities and resources at national labs to overcome challenges,” said Taiwo. With this first round of funding, the decade ahead looks promising.”

Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation’s first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America’s scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit https://​ener​gy​.gov/​s​c​ience.