The Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) announced June 26 the companies that have received GAIN Nuclear Energy Vouchers, which allow private companies to access the expertise and research capabilities of Department of Energy national laboratories to advance their projects toward commercial deployment. This is the third round of GAIN vouchers awarded for fiscal year 2023; the first round was announced in December 2022 and the second in March.
Recipients: Seven businesses were selected in this round:
- Advanced Reactor Concepts (Washington, D.C.), working with Argonne National Laboratory and Idaho National Laboratory to further develop a protective barrier coating between the fuel and cladding for the metallic uranium–based alloy fuel used in its ARC-100 reactor design.
- Alpha Tech Research Corp. (American Fork, Utah), working with ANL to develop an yttrium hydride–based moderator for its molten salt microreactor concept.
- General Atomics (San Diego, Calif.), working with Oak Ridge National Laboratory to examine the material behavior of irradiated silicon carbide composite samples.
- Kairos Power (Alameda, Calif.), working with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to evaluate instruments and develop operating procedures and hardware configurations to analyze lithium isotopic ratios in enriched lithium produced for use in Kairos’s fluoride salt–cooled reactor.
- Moltex Energy USA (Wilmington, Del.), working with ANL to model the heat transfer between fuel pins and the coolant in its molten salt reactor concept.
- Ultra Energy (Round Rock, Texas), working with ORNL to design high-temperature reactor testing to support the development of its prototype neutron flux detector.
- Westinghouse Electric Company (Cranberry Township, Pa.), working with PNNL and INL to perform post-irradiation examination of its chromium-coated accident-tolerant fuel cladding, focusing on corrosion and hydrogen behavior in the cladding from two different coating processes.
GAIN parameters: GAIN NE Voucher recipients do not receive direct financial awards. The vouchers provide funding to DOE laboratories to help businesses overcome critical technological and commercialization challenges. All awardees are responsible for a minimum 20 percent cost share, which could be an in-kind contribution.
Applications for fourth-round proposals are due July 31. The GAIN NE Voucher Program accepts applications for innovations that support production and utilization of nuclear energy in the following general topic areas:
- Analysis and evaluation of and for advanced reactor concepts and associated designs, including development of R&D-based licensing technical requirements or regulatory strategies.
- Structural material and component development, testing, and qualification.
- Advanced nuclear fuel development, fabrication, and testing (including fuel materials and cladding).
- Development, testing, and qualification of instrumentation, controls, and sensor technologies that are hardened for harsh environments and secured against cyber-intrusion.
- Modeling and simulation, high-performance computing, and codes and methods.
- Technical assistance from subject matter experts and/or data and information to support technology development and/or confirm key technical or licensing issues.