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GE Hitachi, TerraPower join hands to advance versatile test reactor program

GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy Inc. is partnering with TerraPower LLC to design and construct a versatile test reactor for the U.S. Department of Energy.

The versatile test reactor, or VTR, program was established to support the accelerated development of nuclear fuels and materials for advanced reactors. It also aims to introduce fast neutron spectrum technology, which currently does not exist in the U.S., according to a news release.

Battelle Energy Alliance LLC, on behalf of the federal agency, issued an expression of interest looking for stakeholders who may want to form a partnership to share the cost in designing and building a VTR using sodium fast reactor technology. GE-Hitachi and TerraPower sent a joint response to the call.

"America's nuclear workforce is ready to build next generation nuclear technology to deliver affordable, clean energy, and to reestablish American leadership in nuclear technology. The VTR offers a domestic platform for innovation that promotes American economic and national security," said TerraPower CEO Chris Levesque.

Since November 2018, GE-Hitachi has actively participated in the development of the conceptual design of the VTR. TerraPower also made enhancements to the VTR design and contributed sodium technology development into its traveling wave reactor.