Nuclear Domain

About Nuclear Energy

Nuclear power accounts for 18% of generation in advanced economies and is the largest low-carbon source of electricity (NIA, 2022). Advanced nuclear reactor technologies are essential to maintaining a clean, resilient, reliable, and affordable energy system in the United States. Nuclear power provides 56% of America’s clean energy and is the most reliable energy source as well as a zero-emissions clean energy source. Advancements in nuclear technology are essential for addressing critical energy security concerns, dramatically expanding energy access, and ultimately achieving decarbonization.

Emerging Technologies

The term “advanced reactor” is defined in the Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act (NEIMA), which became law in 2019, as a reactor with significant improvements compared to existing commercial reactors (e.g., additional inherent safety features; significantly lower levelized cost of electricity; lower waste yields; greater fuel utilization; enhanced reliability; increased proliferation resistance; increased thermal efficiency; or ability to integrate into electric and nonelectric applications). Emerging technologies in this area range from microreactors to small modular reactors (SMR) to larger, more efficient systems. They can provide power to remote areas that rely on oil or gas generators or for emergency power generation. SMRs can be built on retired coal plants to take advantage of the existing infrastructure.

Advanced reactor systems need a wide range of technology development, from state-of-the-art components to digital, safety, cyber security, and autonomous control systems. Technical needs and desired outcomes include:

Intellectual Property


IP available for licensing


Nuclear Test Bed Facilities

National Reactor Innovation Center (NRIC)

Location: Idaho National Lab

Microreactor Agile Non-Nuclear Experimental Test Bed (MAGNET)

Location: Idaho National Lab

MARVEL Test Microreactor

Location: Idaho National Lab

Department of Energy Irradiation Test Reactors

Location: Idaho National Lab and Oak Ridge National Lab

Mechanisms Engineering Test Loop (METL)

Location: Argonne National Lab

Transformational Challenge Reactor (TCR)

Location: Oak Ridge National Lab

Liquid Salt Test Loop (LSTL)

Location: Oak Ridge National Lab

Nuclear Science User Facilities (NSUF)

Location: Idaho National Lab

Safety and Tritium Applied Research Facility (STAR)

Location: Idaho National Lab

Leading Nuclear Innovation

 Idaho National Laboratory (INL) is the domain chair for nuclear energy in the Cradle to Commerce program. 

INL is the nation’s leading center for nuclear energy research and development. The laboratory performs work in each of the Department of Energy’s strategic goal areas: energy, national security, climate, and environment. From advanced nuclear energy to carbon-free energy options and to protecting our nation’s most critical infrastructure assets, INL is home to more than 5,700 researchers and support staff focused on innovation in nuclear research, renewable energy systems, and security solutions that are changing the world.  

Domain Chair

Lori Braase

Nuclear Business Development Executive

Idaho National Lab

Technology Transfer Lead

Ryan Bills

Senior Commercialization Manager, Technology Deployment, Idaho National Lab

Business Lead

Denise Bertsch

Commercialization Manager, Idaho National Lab

DOE Technical

Program Manager



Program Manager, U.S. Department of Energy