The US Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) vouchers to three companies to accelerate the innovation and application of their advanced nuclear technologies. 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 commercialisation while ensuring the continued, safe, and economic operation of the existing fleet. The vouchers provide companies access to the extensive nuclear research capabilities and expertise available across the DOE national laboratory complex.

The three companies are:

  • Element Factory (Cheyenne, Wyoming), which will work with Idaho National Laboratory (INL) to ensure that graphite components will meet technical and regulatory requirements for use in nuclear reactors when they are produced through their novel process that uses different carbon sources.
  • Kanata America (Cheyenne, Wyoming), which will collaborate with Sandia National Laboratories to improve the efficiency of their thermal energy storage and power conversion systems for future use in microreactors.
  • Oklo (Santa Clara, California), which will partner with INL to complete pre-conceptual design work of an experimental test device that will be used in its first Aurora fast reactor to support irradiation testing of advanced fuels and materials.

GAIN voucher recipients do not receive direct financial awards. Vouchers provide funding to DOE laboratories to help businesses overcome critical technological and commercialization challenges. All awardees are responsible for a minimum 20% cost share, which could be an in-kind contribution. This is the second round of GAIN vouchers awarded for FY 2024. 

Image: Oklo's design for its planned SMR (courtesy of Oklo)