D Model for Dimensions Cutout BlueDesigning the VTR already has led to new innovative sensors and monitoring systems, digital engineering approaches, enhanced modeling, and measurement techniques that are aiding in the development of new nuclear energy technologies. Once built, VTR will be able to conduct tests and experiments in eight key areas:

  • Molten Salt Reactors
  • Gas-cooled Fast Reactors
  • Lead-cooled Fast Reactors
  • Sodium-cooled Fast Reactors
  • Structural Materials Testing
  • Rabbit Systems (for rapid specimen/test insertion and retrieval)
  • Digital Engineering & Virtual Design and Construction
  • Instrumentation & Controls

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“As a global community, we face an enormous challenge – how do we provide reliable, abundant clean energy to a rapidly growing population while also reducing carbon emissions?  Advanced nuclear systems are one the few technologies that can do just that, which is why countries are investing in nuclear energy at a rate unmatched in decades. Several new nuclear technologies are under development in the United States and around the globe. These technologies require modern research infrastructure such as the Versatile Test Reactor to support current and future technology evolution.  The United States has long been a leader in the field of nuclear energy and with the addition of the VTR, this will continue to ensure we are at the forefront of innovation.” 

– Kemal Pasamehmetoglu, Executive Director of the VTR program


Designing and building a one-of-a-kind scientific user facility such as VTR requires a team of experts from:


Did you know?

Research conducted in test reactors has led to the development of better nuclear fuels, materials and sensors. Because of these improvements, the 95 commercial nuclear power reactors operating in the United States generate more electricity than they did 30 years.

Did you know?

The United States does not have a fast neutron testing facility. The only one available is the BOR-60 reactor in the Russian Federation, which was built in 1959. U.S. researchers and developers face multiple challenges when trying to access this research capability, including issues with export control, intellectual property rights, and international transportation. VTR will provide the U.S. with an unrivaled, modern fast neutron capability.


The Department of Energy is considering locating VTR at either Idaho National Laboratory or Oak Ridge National Laboratory and is following processes outlined in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to make its determination.