Bechtel to participate in the US VTR program

30 November 2018

Bechtel has been selected to participate in the research and development phase of a program critically important to the future of advanced nuclear power reactors in the U.S. With GE Hitachi, the team will advance the conceptual design and cost estimates for the Versatile Test Reactor (VTR) planned for the U.S. Department of Energy.

Instead of producing electricity, the Versatile Test Reactor would conduct irradiation testing for fuels, materials, and equipment to be used in rapidly evolving designs for advanced reactors brought forward by U.S. companies, as well as public and private research institutions.

The Bechtel team will perform the conceptual design of the non-nuclear facilities surrounding the test reactor – a sodium-cooled fast reactor based on GE Hitachi’s PRISM design. The team will also develop a comprehensive cost estimate for the entire project and develop a schedule that supports reactor startup by 2026.

The VTR would have the ability to conduct a large number of experiments simultaneously. The work will be performed under contract to Battelle Energy Alliance, the management and operating contractor for the Idaho National Laboratory.

Advanced, or Gen IV, reactors are cooled by substances other than water, such as liquid sodium, molten salts, gas, or molten lead. They are inherently safer because they can cool without backup power, produce less radioactive waste, and, as with all nuclear power plants, produce no greenhouse gases during operation.

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