In a 243–187 vote, the House of Representatives yesterday passed the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, a $280 billion economic competitiveness package aimed at bolstering U.S. semiconductor manufacturing, as well as scientific research and development, including nuclear energy R&D.
The first university-based molten salt research reactor (MSRR) is one step closer to reality with Abilene Christian University’s Nuclear Energy eXperimental Testing (NEXT) Laboratory recently signing a contract with Teledyne Brown Engineering. After considering more than a dozen engineering firms, the NEXT Lab selected Teledyne Brown to perform the front-end engineering and design work to produce the reactor on the Abilene campus. The contract was described by NEXT Lab director Rusty Towell as “a significant step into the detailed design and construction phase of this project.” The hope is that the 1-MWt MSRR will go critical in 2025.
Day three of the 2021 Utility Working Conference commenced early Tuesday morning with a plenary session featuring Rita Baranwal, the Electric Power Research Institute’s vice president of nuclear and chief nuclear officer, and Greg Cullen, Energy Northwest’s vice president for energy services and development.
You may have read the abbreviated version of this article in the November 2020 issue of Nuclear News. Now here's the full article—enjoy!
I have enjoyed a long and stimulating career in applied nuclear physics—specifically nuclear reactor physics, nuclear fusion plasma physics, and nuclear fission and fusion reactor design—which has enabled me to know and interact with many of the scientists and engineers who have brought the field of nuclear energy forward over the past half-century. In this time I have had the fortune to interact with and contribute (directly and indirectly) to the education of many of the people who will carry the field forward over the next half-century.
Abilene Christian University (ACU) is leading a consortium called NEXTRA—the Nuclear Energy eXperimental Testing Research Alliance—with the Georgia Institute of Technology, Texas A&M University, and the University of Texas at Austin. NEXTRA was formed in spring 2019 to design, license, and commission a molten salt–fueled research reactor to be hosted on ACU’s campus in the central Texas city of Abilene. ACU and its partners recently announced funding of $30.5 million over the next three years from Abilene-based Natura Resources.