The Sierra Sage
US Nuclear Energy
Northern Nevadans Tour the Idaho National Laboratory
Several Nevadan’s toured the advanced nuclear technology facility at the Idaho National Laboratory. The laboratory was established in 1949 as the National Reactor Testing Station. It spent many years training Navy personnel about nuclear submarine power systems. What many people don’t realize is that the lab is commissioned to study all energy forms for the future. They also research enhanced geothermal energy and have 20 years into advanced battery testing.
The tour was organized by a local non-profit foundation to provide advanced nuclear technology to grassroots Nevadan’s. INL is recognized as the nation’s foremost nuclear research development facility. This tour, however, is a unique “class”, 4 people from Northern Nevada and 4 people from Eastern Idaho. The challenge is to get some grassroots educational overview of the advanced nuclear technology, Small Modular Reactors, (SMRs) and the nuclear fuel cycle. This will provide an integrated opinion, NV, and ID about what advanced nuclear technology has to offer in the future and how it can be applied to advancing the industry.
Four Las Vegas casino executives were invited to join the tour, Senator Dean Heller, and several others. Thought being, at least make this tour for your own exposure to the science and engineering at one of America’s greatest national laboratories”. The Idaho National Laboratory was excellent in accommodating our questions, coordinating plans for our visit and inviting us for future tours.
The lab studies nuclear waste they call spent nuclear fuel to develop advanced nuclear fuels. They are working on micro fuel pellets about half the size of a pellet gun BB. Smaller much more condensed than the normal reactor fuel pellets. This research is working toward further elimination of nuclear waste through highly designed fuels.
In their own words: “Advanced nuclear fuel recycling technologies can enable full use of natural energy resources while minimizing proliferation concerns as well as the volume and longevity of nuclear waste. One type of recycling recovers uranium using solvents that can withstand both acid and radioactivity”. “Both policymakers and citizens require confidence that used fuel and radioactive waste can be transported and stored safely and securely. INL engineers are helping build the scientific and technical foundations for safe and secure transportation, extended storage and permanent disposal”.
Common sense would suggest that our laboratories, colleges, and agencies would have nothing to gain by providing inaccurate scientific analysis. Our grassroots community owe it to themselves to apply due diligence to our science laboratories before publically purporting statements that are not based on science or engineering fact.