The molten salt test loop at ACU’s NEXT Lab. (Photo: Jeremy Enlow/SteelShutter)
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has announced that it will review a construction permit submitted by the Nuclear Energy eXperimental Testing (NEXT) Laboratory at Abilene Christian University for the lab’s planned molten salt research reactor (MSRR). The NRC informed Rusty Towell, director of the NEXT Lab and professor in ACU’s Department of Engineering and Physics, about its acceptance of the construction permit review in a November 18 letter. The NEXT Lab had submitted the construction permit application on August 15; it was the first-ever university application for an advanced research reactor. On October 14, they provided the NRC with additional information about instrumentation and controls. (Nuclear News featured an article about the NEXT Lab and the MSRR in the November issue.)
Research engineers take a sample of molten salt for the NEXT Lab. (Photo: Jeremy Enlow/Steelshutter)
The Nuclear Energy eXperimental Testing (NEXT) Laboratory at Abilene Christian University in Texas created quite a bit of buzz within the nuclear community in August when it submitted the first application for a new U.S. research reactor in more than 30 years. The construction permit application submitted to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is for a molten salt research reactor (MSRR)—the first-ever university application for an advanced research reactor. Assuming NRC acceptance of the application, which could happen this year, a formal technical review of the lab’s MSRR plan will then begin, and construction of the MSRR could be completed by 2025. The Abilene campus’s new Science and Engineering Research Center—a 28,000-square-foot multiuse facility for chemistry, physics, and engineering research and education—is expected to be completed by July 2023 and will house the advanced reactor. The final step is to obtain the NRC operating license for the MSRR and commence operation.
The USS Rickover (SSN 795). (Photo: USS Hyman G. Rickover Commissioning Committee)
NBC Chicago featured a story last week about a visit to the Windy City by the commander and crew of the USS Hyman G. Rickover (SSN-795), the navy’s newest nuclear submarine. The submarine was christened in July 2021 and is currently undergoing trials out of Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Conn., before its expected commissioning in 2023. Reporter Charlie Wojciechowski described the sailors’ meetings with students from Chicago’s Rickover Naval Academy, along with the sailors’ visits to the Museum of Science and Industry and other city landmarks. He also interviewed Commander Matthew H. Beach.
A rendering of the Versatile Test Reactor site. Image: INL
LA GRANGE PARK, Illinois – Idaho National Laboratory’s crucial Versatile Test Reactor (VTR) project is the focus of a newly released special issue of Nuclear Science and Engineering, the first and oldest peer-reviewed journal in its field. This special issue of the American Nuclear Society’s flagship journal presents a current snapshot of the nuclear innovation project at INL, which is being developed in partnership among six national labs and a host of industry and university partners.
The Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant. (Photo: DOE)
The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management has renewed a $2.5 million grant to Ohio University to support community redevelopment around the DOE’s Portsmouth Site. Since 2016, the DOE has provided a total of $8.2 million to the university for work with the communities.
The DOE grant, which began on October 1, will be administered over five years through September 30, 2027. A previous grant expired on September 30.
DOE contractor Savannah River Mission Completion strengthened its ties with Aiken Technical College as the school graduated the first class of Nuclear Fundamentals trainees this summer. (Photo: DOE)
The first 36 students graduated this summer from Savannah River Mission Completion’s (SRMC) Nuclear Fundamentals Certificate program. SRMC is the Department of Energy’s liquid waste contractor at the Savannah River Site (SRS) in South Carolina.
The program, which is a partnership between Aiken Technical College (ATC) and SRMC, is in its inaugural year.
The Philippine Research Reactor-1 building at the University of the Philippines. (Photo: PNRI)
The research reactor known as SATER (Subcritical Assembly for Training, Education, and Research), housed in at the Philippine Research Reactor-1 building at the University of the Philippines in Quezon City, has become operational. As recently reported by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the core of SATER was loaded with 44 fuel rods, bringing the Philippines its first operational nuclear reactor in 34 years. Through this event, the country has moved a big step closer to meeting the government’s goal of adding nuclear power to its energy resources. The reactor is expected to become fully operational by 2023.
Construction of the new Science and Engineering Research Center is underway on the ACU campus. (Photo: ACU)
The Nuclear Energy eXperimental Testing (NEXT) Laboratory at Abilene Christian University in Texas submitted a construction permit application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for its molten salt research reactor (MSRR) on August 15. According to ACU, the move represents the first application for a new U.S. research reactor of any kind in more than 30 years, as well as the first-ever university application for an advanced research reactor.