2024 GAIN vouchers will foster seven new advanced reactor technologies

December 23, 2023, 6:01PMNuclear News
A still from a video on Westinghouse Electric Company’s eVinci microreactor, one of seven advanced reactor technologies that received support in GAIN’s latest round of nuclear energy vouchers. (Image: Westinghouse)

The Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) announced December 19 that seven firms will get vouchers to access the nuclear research facilities and expertise of the national laboratory complex in the first round of fiscal year awards. Each company is paired with one or more national laboratories to work on concepts from advanced reactor fueling to fuel recycling to climate forecasting.

Recipients: Seven recipients were selected in this round:

  • Westinghouse Electric Company (Cranberry Township, Pa.) will work with Oak Ridge National Laboratory to perform irradiation testing and associated postirradiation examination on a ceramic matrix composite for potential use in its eVinci microreactor.
  • SHINE Technologies (Janesville, Wis.) will partner with Argonne National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratory to assess sensor technologies and their placement in a fuel recycling system to ensure nuclear materials are adequately tracked. The approach will integrate a suite of instruments and computer codes created by the national labs to model this approach.
  • Aalo Atomics (Austin, Texas) will collaborate with Idaho National Laboratory to evaluate modeling and simulation capabilities for the Aalo-1 reactor fuel and core system.
  • ARC Clean Technology (Washington, D.C.) will work with Argonne to update its simulation software with additional passive heat removal capabilities to model its sodium-cooled reactor design.
  • Global Nuclear Fuels–Americas (Wilmington, N.C.) will partner with Argonne to confirm the viability of their electroreduction technology to convert uranium oxide fuel stock into a metal that can be used for advanced reactor fuel.
  • Boston Atomics (Boston, Mass.) will collaborate with ORNL on a design review of an in-vessel fuel handling machine for a horizontally oriented integrated reactor and steam generator.
  • Energy Northwest (Richland, Wash.) will work with Argonne to use climate forecasting for the next century to inform the design and selection of future nuclear reactor cooling systems and their impacts on electricity cost.

GAIN parameters: GAIN was established by the Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy and provides the nuclear community with the technical, regulatory, and financial support necessary to move innovative nuclear technologies toward commercialization while ensuring the continued safe and economic operation of the existing fleet.  

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.

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 research and development–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.

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