US DOE Awards USNC for Pylon Experiments at INL's DOME
WASHINGTON, D.C., October 23, 2023 — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced a $3.9 million award to Radiant, Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation (USNC), and Westinghouse through the National Reactor Innovation Center (NRIC). This investment supports the design of advanced microreactor experiments at Idaho National Laboratory's DOME test bed.
The Pylon D1 Demonstration System, scheduled for testing at DOME, incorporates a compact High-Temperature Gas-cooled Reactor (HTGR) that employs Fully Ceramic Microencapsulated (FCM) nuclear fuel, a metal hydride neutron moderator, and graphite control drums. The system uses helium to transport heat generated by nuclear fission away from the reactor through a primary coolant loop. This heat is then transferred to a secondary gas loop, which could involve various gases like helium, air, or supercritical CO2 (currently being evaluated for optimal performance), ultimately dissipating the heat into the ambient surroundings.
Pylon is USNC's transportable reactor platform characterized by low mass and volume. Like a diesel genset, this nuclear genset is meant to be a containerized energy system that could be deployed in remote locations on Earth. Beyond diesel gensets, these systems can be adapted for use in space.
Testing could begin by 2026.