BOISE, Idaho — A new nuclear test reactor is needed as part of an effort to revamp the nation’s fading nuclear power industry by developing safer fuel and power plants, the U.S. Department of Energy said Monday.
The federal agency said it will prepare an environmental impact statement as part of the process to build the test reactor in Idaho or Tennessee by the end of 2025. Public comments on the environmental review are being taken through Sept. 4.
The Versatile Test Reactor would be the first new test reactor built in the U.S. in decades and give the nation a dedicated “fast-neutron-spectrum” testing capability. Such reactors are called fast reactors.
“This testing capability is essential for the United States to modernize its nuclear energy infrastructure and for developing transformational nuclear energy technologies that reduce waste generation and enhance nuclear security,” said U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry in a statement.