Image from US Department of Energy Office of Nuclear Energy (DOE-NE)

DOE awards seven GAIN vouchers to accelerate advanced nuclear technologies

June 26, 2023, Washington, D.C. – The Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) initiative awarded seven vouchers today to industry partners to support the development of several promising advanced nuclear technologies. All seven companies will leverage the expertise and research capabilities at select U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories to further advance their projects toward commercial deployment.

Advanced Reactor Concepts (Washington, D.C.) will partner with Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) and Idaho National Laboratory (INL) to further develop a protective barrier coating between the fuel and cladding for its metallic uranium-based alloy fuel used in its ARC-100 advanced reactor design. Barrier coatings can help prevent fuel-cladding chemical interactions and enable longer fuel service life in advanced reactors.

Alpha Tech Research Corp (American Fork, UT) will team up with ANL to advance the development of a promising yttrium hydride-based moderator for its molten salt microreactor concept. The data will be used to inform the design and size of the reactor.

General Atomics (San Diego, CA) with work with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to examine the material behavior of irradiated silicon carbide composite samples. The data will help inform material behavior models required to license the use of silicon carbide-based structures in nuclear reactors.

Kairos Power (Alameda, CA) will partner with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) to evaluate instruments and develop operating procedures and hardware configurations to analyze its lithium enrichment process. This will ensure that the enriched lithium product meets fluoride-salt-cooled, high-temperature reactor requirements.

Moltex Energy USA LLC (Wilmington, DC) will work with ANL to model the heat transfer between fuel pins and the coolant in its molten salt reactor concept. The results will inform the design of its Stable Salt Reactor.

Ultra Energy (Round Rock, TX) will collaborate with ORNL to organize and design high-temperature reactor testing to support the testing and further development of its new prototype detector that could help enhance the safe operation of commercial reactors once commercialized. Test results will demonstrate the suitability of the prototype and allow for further development for commercial deployment.

Westinghouse Electric Company (Cranberry Township, PA) will team up with PNNL and INL to perform post-irradiation experiments on its chromium-coated accident-tolerant fuel cladding. The project will focus on corrosion and hydrogen behavior in cladding from two different coating processes.

GAIN voucher recipients do not receive direct financial awards. The vouchers provide funding to DOE national laboratories to help businesses overcome critical technological and commercialization challenges. All awardees are responsible for a minimum 20 percent cost share, which could be an in-kind contribution.  

GAIN was established by DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy and provides the nuclear community with the technical, regulatory, and financial support necessary to move innovative nuclear technologies toward commercialization while ensuring the continued, safe, and economic operation of the existing fleet.  

This is the third round of GAIN vouchers awarded for FY 2023.

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