Research & Development

US / INL Asks For Nuclear Ideas As It Strives To Meet Net Zero Goal By 2031

By David Dalton
4 May 2022

Massive laboratory site covers more than 2,300 sq km
INL Asks For Nuclear Ideas As It Strives To Meet Net Zero Goal By 2031
Idaho National Laboratory is the US’s centre for nuclear energy research and development. Courtesy INL.
Idaho National Laboratory is looking for ideas that can help it reduce its energy-related emissions using nuclear-generated electricity and heat as it strives to meet its net zero goal across the entire 2,300 sq km laboratory site by the beginning of the next decade.

Battelle Energy Alliance (BEA), the contractor that manages and operates INL, has issued a request for information that will be used to inform several alternative approaches, including design, construction and operation of an onsite nuclear reactor that will help the lab achieve zero carbon emissions by 2031.

BEA is requesting input as it plans for the nuclear energy component of its net-zero programme.

“Nuclear energy is absolutely essential to achieving national and international net zero goals,” said INL director John Wagner. “We see this work as not only a core part of our mission, but also an opportunity to lead by example and reduce barriers to deploying emission-free nuclear energy technologies to local and global communities.”

INL is eager to demonstrate net zero solutions, including integrating advanced reactors and other clean energy systems on a net-zero microgrid. Doing so can provide clean electricity and thermal energy as well as value-added products such as hydrogen. The request for information is the first step toward achieving that effort.

“We are reaching out to our various stakeholders, including utilities, industry developers and energy users in order to integrate knowledge and perspectives that will improve our final product,” said INL net zero programme director Jhansi Kandasamy. “We know sharing information is essential to realising our net zero goals here at INL.”

INL, the US’s centre for nuclear energy research and development, has been a driving force behind the nation’s clean energy research and development for 75 years. The goal of meeting net zero emissions by 2031 encompasses the INL site, which includes more than 100 miles of transmission lines, a landfill, vehicle fleet, numerous buildings, and hundreds of miles of roads. INL said this will be an important achievement that can be used as the basis for other similar initiatives throughout the region and nationally.

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