Idaho National Laboratory

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About INL[edit]

The Idaho National Laboratory is a United States Department of Energy National Laboratory located in Idaho Falls, Idaho. The laboratory's primary research field is nuclear energy.[2]

Research Programs[edit]

The INL research programs focus on creating a "technically achievable, economically competitive and environmentally sustainable nuclear energy option for the nation that is worthy of public confidence and trust."[1]

There are six attributes to the INL vision:

  • World-leading nuclear science and technology programs;
  • National/Homeland Security, Energy and Environmental programs that leverage our nuclear capabilities;
  • A robust science base;
  • Extensive collaborations with the world's premier academic, government and industrial nuclear S&T organizations; and
  • Forefront research facilities, support infrastructure and management systems.[1]

Advanced Fuel Cycle Program[edit]

The program is focused on reducing the amount of nuclear waste by developing new technologies that can safely and effectively seperate useful components from wasteful components of discharged nuclear fuel.[3]

Advanced Nuclear Energy Systems[edit]

INL is the nation's lead laboratory for nuclear research and development.[4]

Advanced Process and Decision Systems, Gasification, Liquefied Natural Gas, Oil Shale[edit]

The program is involved in evaluating in evaluating fossil fuel alternatives, such as "liquefied natural gas, coal and oil shale gasification, tar and oil sands gasification, and coal-bed and coal mine methane recovery.[5]

Advanced Vehicle Testing Activity[edit]

In partnership with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, INL is engaged in advanced vehicle testing to test:
Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle technologies
Hybrid electric, pure electric, and hydraulic technologies
Advanced electric drive technologies and engine technologies
Advanced energy storage (i.e., batteries) technologies and chemistries
Advanced climate control, power electronic, and other ancillary systems technologies
Internal combustion engines burning advanced fuels (i.e., 100% hydrogen and hydrogen/CNG-blended fuels)[6]

Agricultural Residues[edit]

The goals of this program are to "define the physical changes in feedstocks that damage their quality and potential use, and, further, to investigate maintaining, upgrading, or enhancing feedstock shelf life to increase its throughput capacity, operational efficiency, and quality of the interim biomass product."[7]

Analytical Chemistry, Catalysis, Interfacial Chemistry, Mass Spectrometry, Polymers[edit]

The goal of this program is to "develop new analytical methods that advance the science of surface chemistry and contribute to the development of novel synthetic materials."[8]

Autonomous Operation and Control Architecture, Robotics and Intelligent Systems[edit]

A robotics program interested in developing "robotic systems that can adjust their level of autonomy on the fly, leveraging their own intrinsic intelligence to meet whatever level of control is handed down from the user."[9]

Batteries, 'FreedomCar', Energy Storage and Transportation, Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles, Vehicle Performance Testing[edit]

The program goal is to develop "the next generation of hybrid and electric vehicle batteries and other technologies."[10]

Biocorrosion, Fracture Mechanics, Nondestructive Evaluation, Materials Characterization, Performance and Properties[edit]

The program goal is to develop "new characterization techniques for metals, ceramics and composite materials."[11]


The program is focused on "researching, characterizing, modeling, demonstrating, and harnessing the physical and chemical characteristics of the nation’s diverse agricultural residues to more cost-effectively produce biofuels and other value-added products."[12]

Biofuels and Renewable Energy[edit]

The program goal is "to advance alternative energy sources that have a smaller carbon footprint."[13]


The mission of the Hydropower Program is to conduct R&D efforts that will improve the benefits of hydropower and provide cost-competitive technologies that enable the development of new and incremental hydropower capacity."[14]

Biological Systems, Biotechnology, Extremophile Research, Microbiology[edit]

The program is interested in "microbial research and development for white biotechnology, molecular forensic techniques, and environmental stewardship."[15]


The goal of this program is to "overcome key technical barriers facing the U.S. bioenergy industry."[16]

Cellulosic Feedstock[edit]

The goal is to establish "the requirements for feedstock assembly processes to feed bioconversion processes."[17]

Center for Advanced Energy Studies[edit]

The focus of the CAES is to "create new research capabilities, expand researcher-to-researcher collaborations, and enhance energy-related educational opportunities."[18] The Center represents a partnership between three Idaho public universities (Boise State University, Idaho State University, and the University of Idaho), private industry, and the Idaho National Laboratory.

Center for Advanced Modeling and Simulation[edit]

The goal of this program is to "enable advanced modeling and simulation at INL by performing applied and basic research in computational science and engineering, and by providing capabilities, leadership and expertise in high-performance computing."[19]

Chemical and Radiation Measurement[edit]

This program measures "chemical composition and radiation emitted by substances and materials."[20]

Critical Infrastructure Protection[edit]

The program focuses on the protection of "our nation's intricate system of critical infrastructure networks."[21]

Defense Systems[edit]

The program focus is "safeguarding our soldiers involved in global conflicts."[22]

Energy Efficiency and Industrial Technology[edit]

The research conducted in this area focuses on materials processing and intelligent systems.[23]

Energy Resources Recovery[edit]

This department focus is to evaluate and pursue "new opportunities in energy recovery methods, and monitors the potential environmental impacts of those methods."[24]

Fusion Safety[edit]

The fusion program "engages in designing and analyzing advanced nuclear reactor systems for a wide variety of applications."[25]

Generation IV Systems[edit]

The program's focus is to "advance commercial nuclear reactor designs beyond the current generation that is being deployed around the world."[26]



Geothermal Energy[edit]

The program's mission is to "establish geothermal energy as an economically competitive contributor to the U.S. energy supply." The program is focused on "investigating and developing geothermal resource technologies for both direct use and electricity generation, particularly those resources considered marginally economical."[28]

High Performance Computing[edit]

The HPC center focuses on "a wide range of research activities, including performance of materials in harsh environments (including the effects of irradiation and high temperatures), modeling of geomechanical changes in subsurface flow, performance of advanced gas-cooled nuclear reactors, and multiscale analysis of nuclear fuel performance."[29]

Light Water Reactor Sustainability[edit]

This program is a research and development program designed "to provide the technical foundations for licensing and managing the long-term, safe and economical operation of current nuclear power plants."[30]

Nuclear Hydrogen[edit]

This program focuses on advancing the use of hydrogen in energy production for synthetic fuels, fuel cells, and military applications.[31]

Nuclear Nonproliferation[edit]

This programs focus is to "develop technologies and systems to prevent the illicit production, acquisition, transport and use of harmful nuclear materials and technology."[32]

Nuclear Safety, SAFHIRE 7[edit]

The program supports safety for complex engineered facilities and processes. The main focus is "nuclear engineering and regulatory analysis support for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)."[33]

Reactor Physics[edit]

This program focuses on 3 key areas of research:
  1. Computational and Experimental Reactor and Radiation Physics
  2. Radiation Measurement Instrumentation Development and Applications
  3. Nuclear Physics and Spectroscopy[34]

Seismic Monitoring[edit]

This program analyzes earthquakes around INL to find "earthquake sources, regions of seismic activity, crustal structure, rock properties, energy dissipation (or attenuation) characteristics of the subsurface, and levels of ground shaking."[35]

Space Nuclear[edit]

This program is designed to "lead, contribute to, and support development of nuclear reactor technologies required for multi-mission spacecraft and human exploration."[36]

Systems Engineering[edit]

The systems engineering program is designed to consider "business and the technical needs of all customers with the goal of providing a quality product that meets the user's needs on time and within established budgets."[37]

Thermal Fluids[edit]

The thermal fluids program focus is "thermal hydraulic reactor safety code development and experimental heat transfer/thermal hydraulics."[38]

Wind Energy[edit]

The program focus is to increase the amount of wind energy production in the U.S. to achieve "targeted regional economic development, enhance our power generation options, protect the local environment, and increase our energy and national security."[39]


Next Generation Nuclear Plant[edit]

The Next Generation Nuclear Power Plant Project "engages the corporations you depend on for gasoline, plastics and fertilizer with a progressive approach to energy production."[40]


Advanced Test Reactor National Scientific User Facility[edit]

The Advanced Test Reactor National Scientific User Facility, in partnership with DOE and INL, is a facility offering information and programs to users and people interested in nuclear energy.[41]

External Links[edit]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Idaho National Laboratory Research Programs
  2. 2.0 2.1  "About INL"
  3. Advanced Fuel Cycle
  4. Advanced Nuclear Energy Program
  5. Advanced Process and Decision Systems
  6. Advanced Vehicle Testing Activity
  7. Agricultural Residues
  8. Analytical Chemistry
  9. Autonomous Operation
  10. Batteries
  11. Biocorrosion
  12. Bioenergy
  13. Biofuels and Renewable Energy
  14. Hydropower
  15. Biological Systems
  16. Biomass
  17. Cellulosic Feedstock
  18. Center for Advanced Energy Studies
  19. Center for Advanced Modeling and Simulation
  20. Chemical and Radiation Measurement
  21. Critical Infrastructure Protection
  22. Defense Systems
  23. Energy Efficiency and Industrial Technology
  24. Energy Resources Recovery
  25. Fusion Safety
  26. Generation IV Systems
  27. Geocentrifuge
  28. Geothermal
  29. High Performance Computing
  30. Light Water Reactor Sustainability
  31. Nuclear Hydrogen
  32. Nuclear Nonproliferation
  33. Nuclear Safety
  34. Reactor Physics
  35. Seismic Monitoring
  36. Space Nuclear
  37. Systems Engineering
  38. Thermal Fluids
  39. Wind Energy
  40. Next Generation Nuclear Power Plant Project
  41. ATR NSUF