Demonstrating a faster, more affordable approach to advanced nuclear energy
The Transformational Challenge Reactor will demonstrate a revolutionary approach to deploying new nuclear power systems. By building and operating an additively manufactured microreactor, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory program will explore solutions to the high costs and lengthy deployment timelines that threaten the future of nuclear energy—the country’s largest source of carbon-free energy.
ORNL is the international leader in development of microencapsulated fuel technologies. The TCR reactor utilizes the uranium nitride TRISO fuel particles developed at ORNL in recent years.
By leveraging ORNL’s core expertise in materials science and neutron scattering, a high temperature moderator, yttrium hydride, is now fully developed to be used in the TCR demonstration.
Leveraging ORNL’s leadership in additive manufacturing of metals and ceramics, the additively manufactured reactor core consists of silicon carbide and stainless steel.
ORNL is leveraging its unique nuclear facilities and the longest reactor operational experience in the world to build and operate a helium cooled gas loop core.