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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced today that it will go forward with plans to build a controversial new nuclear reactor that some critics have called a boondoggle. If all goes as planned, the Versatile Test Reactor (VTR) will be built at DOE’s Idaho National Laboratory (INL) near Idaho Falls and will generate copious high-energy neutrons to test new material and technologies for nuclear reactors. That would fill a key gap in the United States’s nuclear capabilities, proponents say. However, some critics have argued that the project is just an excuse to build a reactor of the general type that can generate more fuel than it consumes by “breeding” plutonium.

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Category: Science