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Apr 19 – 22, 2022
Vienna, Austria
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Versatile Test Reactor (VTR) Project Mission and Status

Apr 20, 2022, 2:52 PM
Vienna, Austria

Vienna, Austria

ORAL Track 5. Test Facilities and Experiments 5.1 Experimental Reactors and Facilities


Jordi Roglans-Ribas (Argonne National Laboratory)


Advanced nuclear technologies will play a significant role in meeting the growing demand for clean energy. To support the deployment of these technologies and enable long term innovation, the U.S. DOE has initiated a project to build a Versatile Test Reactor (VTR) with a compelling and urgent mission: testing innovative fuels, materials, sensors and instrumentation for various advanced reactor types under development. VTR will enable testing with very high fast neutron fluxes (≥ 4 x 1015 neutrons/cm2-s fast flux) over large volumes (≥ 7 liters per test location) and representative irradiation lengths (≥ 0.6 m). VTR is being designed for high availability to achieve high fast neutron fluences, greater than 30 displacements-per-atom per year on materials. VTR’s design will support the use of self-contained internally circulating loops for sodium, lead, lead-bismuth eutectic, helium and molten salt coolants to support commercial technology development efforts. It will also support a rabbit system to enable rapid irradiation testing. Additional experimental positions throughout the core will be available.

VTR project management follows DOE regulations on capital assets acquisition. The first critical decision, reached in February 2019, confirmed the need for a fast spectrum irradiation capability and authorized the analysis of alternatives and development of a conceptual design for the preferred strategy. The second critical decision, signed in September 2020, approved the preferred strategy and established cost and schedule ranges based on the conceptual design of a sodium-cooled fast reactor. VTR is starting the preliminary and final design phase of the project that will lead to the next critical decision that will establish a cost and schedule performance baseline and authorize the start of construction. VTR is being designed using recently approved U.S. NRC advanced reactor design criteria and risk informed performance-based safety basis development guides.

VTR will support re-establishing parts of the U.S. nuclear supply chain and will modernize the design and construction process through the use of digital engineering design tools and integrated requirements management systems. The target date for the start of operations is the end of 2026 with 5 years of contingency.

VTR fills the only major gap in the U.S. nuclear energy research and development infrastructure. Coupled with the other major infrastructure, such as Advanced Test Reactor (ATR), High-Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR), Transient Reactor Test Facility (TREAT), fuels and materials fabrication and characterization and post-irradiation examination facilities, VTR will support nuclear energy innovations for decades to come.

Speaker's email address
Speaker's title Mr
Country/Int. organization United States of America
Affiliation/Organization Argonne National Laboratory

Primary authors

Kemal Pasamehmetoglu (Idaho National Laboratory) Jordi Roglans-Ribas (Argonne National Laboratory) Thomas O'Connor (U.S. Department of Energy Office of Nuclear Energy)

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