A team of researchers in the US and Europe are part of the Real-Time Super Lab concept to study how electricity can be rerouted across vast distances to address disruptions. The team envisions that large-scale blackouts can be prevented by moving electricity intercontinentally, the same way utilities currently do regionally but at a much larger scale. Such global interaction can reduce the cost of outages and make electrical power grids of the future more resilient.
18-Sep-2014 Factors underlying nuclear fuel swelling seen at nanoscale for first time
Understanding factors that drive nuclear fuel swelling will help engineers develop higher performance fuels, which could be even safer and more efficient than those used in current nuclear energy plants. As uranium atoms split to produce energy, fission products build up within fuel rods, which impacts nuclear fuel performance inside a reactor. But, a clear picture of the size and location of these solid fission products has been elusive until now.
20-Aug-2014 Junior researchers showing world the way to advanced nuclear fuel design
Two early-career Idaho National Laboratory researchers are earning international attention for their groundbreaking work. They're getting a long-sought look into the 3-D microstructure of irradiated nuclear fuel, then feeding that data into cutting-edge fuel behavior models. Their work will make the design and testing of even safer nuclear fuels more informed and efficient.
25-Jun-2014 A model for success
Idaho National Laboratory researcher Blaise Collin works with software called PARFUME (particle fuel model) as part of an effort to find new, safer fuel sources for use in nuclear reactors.
12-May-2014 Industry research: Experiment enters next stage at new Idaho hot cell
To the average eye, the experimental specimens don't look like much: silver-colored squares about the size of a domino. But the samples represent several big milestones for Idaho National Laboratory, the Department of Energy and the US nuclear energy industry. The irradiated 'compact tension' specimens are the first to undergo analysis in a specialized test rig at INL. Plus, they're part of a first-of-its-kind collaboration through the DOE's Advanced Test Reactor National Scientific User Facility.
25-Sep-2012 Student geothermal competitors tap Idaho expertise
Idaho's Snake River Plain was the focus of the US Department of Energy's National Geothermal Student Competition this year. Most of the eight finalist teams, which included three Idaho universities, visited Idaho and consulted with INL and Idaho experts.
12-Jul-2012 Idaho researcher building used nuclear fuel sensor
Much of the 6,200 metric tons of used nuclear fuel generated by US power plants over the last 40 years is stored safely in giant stainless steel casks. Darryl Butt, a Boise State University professor, is part of a team researching whether it can be stored that way for at least 60 more.
10-Dec-2009 Probing life's extremes in Yellowstone
Frank Roberto trawls Yellowstone's thermal pools for viruses and microbes. On a recent trip to the park, he hunted for bacteria that could aid in the production of biofuels and bioplastics.
13-May-2009 A wealth of liquid fuel right under our feet
INL has partnered with Baard Energy to design one of the nation's first coal-to-liquids plants, a project that could help power the US transportation system without relying on foreign oil.
23-Sep-2008 INL engineer's long-term nuclear fuel research pays off
Science doesn't happen overnight, and Idaho National Laboratory Fellow Dave Petti knows that better than many. His research has required a long-term commitment from him and his colleagues -- one that is starting to pay off as the products of their work are breaking barriers and receiving national consideration.
The Department of Energy's Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time.