INL News Release
March 8, 2010

Kortny Rolston, 208-526-0962,
Misty Benjamin, 208-526-5940,

New INL institute to foster lab/university nuclear energy research

IDAHO FALLS – The link between Idaho National Laboratory and university nuclear researchers is getting stronger.

INL is teaming with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, North Carolina State University, Oregon State University, The Ohio State University and University of New Mexico to form the Institute for Nuclear Energy Science and Technology (I-NEST). The institute's goal is to help define INL's long-term nuclear energy research and development strategy.

The five universities are part of the Battelle Energy Alliance management team. BEA runs INL for the U.S. Department of Energy. As part of that team, the schools have worked with the lab to help determine where it should focus its nuclear energy research.

They will take on a greater role through the institute. One of their first objectives is to identify gaps in various aspects of nuclear energy research and suggest how INL can strengthen its programs to address those needs.

"The goal is to bring strength of the universities and the strength of the lab and focus them on the long-range needs in nuclear research and development," said Dave Hill, INL deputy lab director. "The strengths of the universities and the lab really complement each other. The universities really concentrate on basic research and the lab's strength is applied research."

The institute comprises four Centers of Research and Education (COREs) that focus on nuclear energy areas: fuels and materials, space nuclear research, fuel cycle, and safety and licensing.  Each CORE will be led by two researchers — one each from INL and one of the partner universities.

I-NEST will be based at the Center for Advanced Energy Studies in Idaho Falls.

INL is one of the DOE's 10 multiprogram national laboratories. The laboratory performs work in each of the strategic goal areas of DOE: energy, national security, science and environment. INL is the nation's leading center for nuclear energy research and development.

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