Department of Energy to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement as Part of Exploration into Constructing a Versatile Test Reactor

Aug 16, 2019


The Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced that it will be developing an Environmental Impact Study (EIS) in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to gain a greater knowledge of the effects of building a Versatile Test Reactor in the U.S. to test future fuels and materials that industry is designing for advanced civilian nuclear power reactors to provide large amounts of carbon-free, economical electricity for the nation’s power grid.

“This testing capability is essential for the United States to modernize its nuclear energy infrastructure and for developing transformational nuclear energy technologies that reduce waste generation and enhance nuclear security,” said U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry.  “Lack of a domestic reactor with versatile fast-neutron-spectrum testing capability is a significant national strategic risk affecting the ability of DOE to fulfill its mission to advance the energy, environmental, and nuclear security of the United States and promote scientific and technological innovation.”

DOE welcomes public feedback on what should be included in the scope of the draft EIS. There are currently two locations being considered for a U.S. Versatile Test Reactor: Idaho National Laboratory in eastern Idaho, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory in eastern Tennessee. Additionally, the Idaho National Laboratory and Savannah River Site in western Georgia are currently being considered as locations for the fabrication of the fuel required to run the Versatile Test Reactor.
DOE will be hosting two webcast scoping meetings to provide additional information on these projects on August 27 at 6pm ET/4PM MT, and August 28 at 8pm ET/6pm MT. Participants interested in joining one of these calls can call 877-869-3847 during the call time.

For further information, and to submit a written comment, click here: