Delivering world-leading nuclear science and engineering
The Fusion and Fission Energy and Science Directorate (FFESD) addresses compelling challenges in fission and fusion energy systems, enabling Oak Ridge National Laboratory to pursue national priorities in current and advanced nuclear research, development, and deployment.
FFESD traces its roots to the X-10 Graphite Reactor, the world’s first continuously operated nuclear reactor. The directorate is focusing on fission and fusion technologies; advancing modeling and simulation; and managing the US ITER project.
The directorate’s unique facilities, capabilities, and talented scientists and engineers are currently tackling such challenges as extended operations of the current US nuclear reactor fleet; investigating economical and flexible advanced reactor systems; and making fusion energy a viable power source. The directorate leverages synergies between fusion and fission across domestic and international programs.
FFESD leads US ITER, which has the responsibility of designing, fabricating, and delivering hardware for the international ITER fusion project. The directorate also leads the Transformational Challenge Reactor demonstration program, an effort to build the world’s first additively manufactured reactor, and the Material Plasma Exposure eXperiment (MPEX), a future world-leading capability that will produce the extreme plasma environments to test materials for use in fusion energy devices.
REVOLUTIONIZING ADVANCED REACTOR TECHNOLOGY
Launched in 2019, the Transformational Challenge Reactor (TCR) demonstration program is led
by FFESD researchers and leverages capabilities and expertise from across ORNL. The program is harnessing the latest advances in science and manufacturing to build a microreactor using 3D printing and operate it by 2023. TCR will demonstrate a faster, more affordable path to deploying new nuclear energy systems and lay the groundwork for the nuclear industry to quickly adopt the technology.