INL reactor listed among Trump’s 1st year highlights

The interior of Idaho National Laboratory’s Transient Reactor Test Facility, which was built at the U.S. Department of Energy’s desert site west of Idaho Falls in 1958. The reactor was shut down in 1994, but recently became operational again. Courtesy of Idaho National Laboratory

President Donald Trump talks with reporters after arriving to speak at the Latino Coalition Legislative Summit on Wednesday in Washington, D.C. A recent Trump administration report on the science and technology-related highlights during his first year touts restarting Idaho National Laboratory’s TREAT reactor as a major accomplishment. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

A recent Trump administration report on the science and technology-related highlights of President Donald Trump’s first year in office lauds the restarting of an Idaho National Laboratory test reactor as one of the major accomplishments.

The U.S. Department of Energy restarted the Transient Reactor Test Facility at its desert site west of Idaho Falls late last year. It was shut down in 1994, largely due to a lack of use. The DOE started work to restart it around 2010. It became operational in November, and experiments are expected to start again this summer.

The report by the Office of Science and Technology Policy lists steps the office has taken toward goals such as expanding space exploration and scientific discovery, STEM education, improving cybersecurity and combating opioid addiction. In a section of the report called “Energy Dominance,” restarting TREAT is mentioned along with other actions aimed at expanding the nuclear energy sector among the highlights of Trump’s first year.

“TREAT is a crucial part of the nation’s nuclear (research and development) infrastructure, and provides the capability to test nuclear reactor fuels and materials under extreme conditions,” the report says. “Such testing can help to improve safety and performance of the current and future nuclear reactor fleet.”

Reporter Nathan Brown can be reached at 208-542-6757. Follow him on Twitter: @NateBrownNews.