The US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Nuclear Energy said the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) had awarded vouchers to Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation (USNC) and Framatome  to help commercialise advanced nuclear technologies. Both voucher recipients will gain access to the nuclear research capabilities and expertise available at the DOE national laboratory complex at no cost to the businesses.

USNC is partnering with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to help scale up and qualify the production of fuel made at its future manufacturing facility for its micro-modular reactor. Framatome will work with Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) to develop and validate a model for multi-phase liquid flow that will help accelerate the delivery of advanced fuel designs for both light-water reactor and potential advanced reactor fuel markets.

GAIN Nuclear Energy voucher recipients do not receive direct financial awards, but are provided access to the national labs at no cost. All awardees are responsible for a minimum 20% percent cost share, which could be an in-kind contribution. GAIN, established by DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy, 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 nuclear fleet.  

This is the first GAIN award for FY 2022. Framatome based in Lynchburg, Virginia is modelling of two-phase boiling flow and critical heat flux with the StarCCM+ and NEK-2P CFD Codes at ANL.

USNC based in Seattle, Washington, is looking into deployment and characterisation support for a USNC pilot fuel manufacturing facility with ORNL

Through GAIN, DOE said it is making its state-of-the-art and continuously improving RD&D infrastructure available to stakeholders to achieve faster and cost-effective development of innovative nuclear energy technologies toward commercial readiness.