U.S. Department of Energy Invests in New Test Reactor

Despite the recent maelstrom that has become nuclear energy discussions in this United States, the Department of Energy is reaching above the fray in pursuit of innovative technologies to propel the industry forward. This time, it enlisted some seriously deep and well-connected pockets. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and his armada of resources (both financial & technological) intends to partner his nuclear reactor start-up, TerraPower, with GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy to design and build a research reactor for the DOE, colloquially known as the Versatile Test Reactor (VTR).

Interested in pursuing new research and testing avenues for the wave of small modular reactors that will be ushered into the market in the coming years, the Department of Energy intends to use the VTR to explore up and coming materials, fuel (including thorium), and safety-related components/instrumentation at energy conditions exceeding what present technology is capable of handling. In utilizing the VTF’s full capabilities, the DOE hopes to reinvigorate the country’s appetite for nuclear energy and streamline the process for introducing innovative methods into the industry.

To achieve such a massive undertaking, the Department of Energy has placed renowned research behemoth Idaho National Laboratories (INL) to oversee the project, as well as establish financial partnerships to pick up the tab— “Achieving nuclear energy’s full potential, will require businesses and government to work together to invest in both testing new materials and demonstrating advanced technologies”, Chris Levesque, TerraPower’s CEO, commented this week.

Otek has long served the innovative efforts of INL with a little innovation of our own. Following on the heels of our popular HI-Q119 model, we designed its replacement for use in INL’s applications, the NTM-9.

Standing vertical at dimensions of 2.16” W x 6” H, the NTM-9 serves as a replacement for obsolete analogs such as the GE/Yokogawa 180, the Weschler VX251 and Dixon BB101 among others—as well as boasting an automatic tricolor bar display with intensity control, 4 digits, self-diagnostics, isolated serial I/O, USB/RS485, math functions, 4 relays, a configurable bar direction, and requires only 100mW@5VDC.

Hopefully, the DOE’s Versatile Test Reactor does, in fact, bring fresh enthusiasm to the nuclear debate in America, and if so, Otek fully intends to continue its proud tradition of lending our award-winning technology to the cause.

For more information on the NTM-9 or any of our other products, please call 520-748-7900 or contact our sales department: sales@otekcorp.com