Idaho National Laboratory builds full-scale prototype for microreactor project

Article from Office of Nuclear Energy

Idaho National Laboratory (INL) recently built a full-scale, electrically heated prototype to support the U.S. Department of Energy’s new MARVEL microreactor project. The prototype is one of the largest components ever machined at the lab and will be used to help validate the project’s final microreactor design that could be operational within the next two years.

Delivering the Prototype
INL machinists successfully assembled the prototype, which is known as a primary coolant apparatus test (PCAT) for the MARVEL microreactor. The PCAT was built in just nine months and is made of several stainless-steel components, including four Stirling engines that will generate electricity through primary and intermediate coolant pumps. It stands 12 feet tall and weighs 2,000 pounds, making it one of the largest components ever built at the lab’s Materials and Fuels Complex fabrication shop.

The PCAT will be powered by an external electrical power supply, instead of fission, and will be used to ensure the MARVEL design and dynamics performs as expected.

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