The INL consists of an 890-square-mile area in southeastern Idaho typically referred to as the "site," along with laboratories and administrative buildings located approximately 30 miles east in the city of Idaho Falls. Our facilities are concentrated in three main complexes, though some smaller, specialized facilities are more remotely located on the INL reservation.
Advanced Test Reactor Complex
Located 45 miles west of Idaho Falls, the Advanced Test Reactor Complex is engaged in research and development of nuclear reactor technologies. It is home to the Advanced Test Reactor (ATR), the world's most advanced nuclear test reactor, which is also a DOE National Scientific User Facility. ATR is vital for testing materials for the nation's next generation of nuclear power plants. ATR is also used to manufacture a significant portion of the nation's medical nuclear isotopes. A new radiochemistry laboratory is slated for completion at the ATR Complex by the end of 2009.
Materials & Fuels Complex
The Materials & Fuels Complex, located 28 miles west of Idaho Falls, focuses on research and development of nuclear fuels. Prototypes of new reactor fuels are made and evaluated at MFC. Pyroprocessing, which uses electricity to separate waste products in the recycling of nuclear fuel, is also researched here. At the Space & Security Power Systems Facility, workers make nuclear batteries (radioisotope thermoelectric generators, called RTGs for short) for use on the nation's space missions. Such batteries are crucial to the nation's deep space missions, which travel to extremely cold regions of space where sunlight is too weak to power photovoltaic cells.
Research & Education Campus
The Research & Education Campus (REC), located in Idaho Falls, is home to INL administration (located in the Engineering Research Office Building and the Willow Creek Building) and a wide variety of other facilities. At the INL Research Center, scientists working in dozens of laboratories conduct cutting-edge research in fields as varied as robotics, genetics, biology, chemistry, metallurgy, computational science and hydropower. INL's Ice Storm supercomputer, ranked 64th fastest in the world according to the Nov 2007 top 500 list, provides the computational power our researchers need. The Center for Advanced Energy Studies, which opened in 2009, houses the Energy Policy Institute. Other facilities house National Security programs and INL precision machining and glass shops.