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FROM POWERING YOUR WORLD TO PROTECTING YOU ONLINE,

Idaho’s National Lab is Discovering the Future


CREATING “… A WORLD THAT IS SAFER, CLEANER, MORE SECURE AND

PROSPEROUS”

In the following pages, you will learn about the work conducted at Idaho National Laboratory and our impact on the state. But before you dive into those details, I want to share some thoughts about our clean energy and national security missions and the value of our partnerships with Idaho’s state and local governments, communities and citizens. My message today centers around four words: trust, benefit, transparency and sustainability.

TRUST Trust is earned by saying what you mean, being honest and open about intentions and actions, and admitting — then correcting — mistakes. I like to say INL is Idaho’s national laboratory. Our success depends upon your support, and that’s something we take seriously. Our promise to you is that we will work diligently to achieve our missions while respecting and caring for this special place we call home. We will work with our neighbors to contain wildfires, protect our aquifer, continue to develop technologies that result in cleaner air and water, and partner with service organizations in our communities to help those in need.

BENEFIT INL has roughly 4,600 full-time employees, making site contractor Battelle Energy Alliance Idaho’s sixth-largest private employer. We contract with a variety of small Idaho businesses, provide hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants to public schools and have developed valuable partnerships with industry and our colleges and universities. Idaho’s national laboratory belongs to all Idahoans. That means everyone — from the Panhandle through the Clearwater Valley, Magic Valley, Treasure Valley and into Central and

Southeastern Idaho — should benefit from hosting one of America’s 17 national laboratories.

produce low-carbon electricity, but also transform our manufacturing, industrial and transportation sectors.

TRANSPARENCY

These are the challenges that drive me and our talented staff. With your help, this laboratory — your laboratory — will conduct the work necessary to leave future generations a world that is safer, cleaner, more secure and prosperous.

If you have questions about our work, ask and we will answer as plainly as we can. If you want to experience our facilities in Idaho Falls or our 890-square-mile site firsthand, please sign up for a tour by emailing tours@inl.gov. We have great stories to share. INL works closely with state and local governments and our publicly funded universities. We owe our fellow citizens not just results, but also transparency in how and why we operate.

SUSTAINABILITY I like to think in terms of decades. It’s important for us at INL to understand how the work we do today will impact our children and grandchildren years from now.

Now I know I said this piece would be focused on four words, but I feel compelled to add a fifth: gratitude. In 2019, INL celebrated 70 years of service to our fellow citizens. We recently opened two new state-owned facilities on our Idaho Falls campus and marked 10 years at the Center for Advanced Energy Studies (CAES) — a research consortium consisting of INL, Boise State University, Idaho State University, the University of Idaho and the University of Wyoming.

To sustain, we must be secure. A core INL mission is to protect the nation’s most critical infrastructure from manmade and natural threats.

INL was selected to lead the National Reactor Innovation Center (NRIC), which will allow our talented staff to work closely with industry and develop advanced reactors capable of powering our future while reducing carbon emissions.

To sustain, we must maintain the nation’s fleet of nuclear reactors, which produce nearly 20% of America’s electricity and more than half of our low-carbon electricity. And we must develop the advanced reactors that not only will safely

Our new facilities, enhanced capabilities and expanding missions would not be possible without your support. Thank you for standing with us. We’re all in this together, and together we will prosper — today and into the future.

Mark Peters, Director Idaho National Laboratory


TABLE OF

CONTENTS 10-11

INSPIRING THE NEXT GENERATION

12-13

THE NATION’S NUCLEAR ENERGY RESEARCH HUB

14-15

SMALL ENERGY BIG IMPACT

4-5

INL AND IDAHO ECONOMIC IMPACT

22

INL OFFERS ARCHAEOLOGICAL RESEARCH BONANZA

6-7

INVESTING IN IDAHO’S FUTURE WORKFORCE

23

ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING IS A TEAM EFFORT

8-9

MEET THE MINDS OF INL RITA & HONG

16-17

ENHANCING OUR NATIONAL SECURITY

18-19

MEET THE MINDS OF INL VIVEK, AARON & AMANDA

20-21

GOING BIG FOR SMALL BUSINESS

CONTRIBUTORS: Kortny Rolston-Duce, Michelle Goff, Cory Hatch, Paul Menser, Nicole Stricker, Corey Taule, Eric Williams, Leslie Wright, Lori McNamara, Kristine Burnham and Chris Morgan

your.inl.gov | Idaho National Laboratory

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INL and IDAHO ECONOMIC IMPAC TS

$2.06 BILLION

6

TOTAL ECONOMIC IMPACT

th

6

LARGEST PRIVATE EMPLOYER

“To see the positive impact the Laboratory has on

Idaho’s economy is incredibly rewarding. Not just because we are helping improve the quality of life in our own backyard, but also because INL’s steady growth shows that we are serving

LARGEST EMPLOYER

our fellow citizens by striving

th

to resolve the nation’s big energy and security issues.” Mark Peters, Director Idaho National Laboratory

4349 GAVE INL

INL EMPLOYEES

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your.inl.gov | Idaho National Laboratory

$618,700

GRANTS FOR COMMUNITIES, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND K-12 SCHOOLS


I DAH O NATI ONA L L A B O RATO RY TA K E S G RE AT P R ID E I N B EIN G A MA JOR E CO N O M I C D RI V E R I N OU R STAT E FOR EVERY

1

TOP 5 SUBCONTRACTING CATEGORIES

1.7 $148 MILLION

INL JOB, ANOTHER

Computer & Electronic Product Manufacturing

181

Nearly 7,500 other Idaho jobs depend on INL and its operations

JOBS ARE CREATED IN OTHER INDUSTRIES

Professional, Scientific and Technical Services

HOURS IN

TECHNICAL

ASSISTANCE FOR COMPANIES

SPENT WITH IDAHO BUSINESSES

Primary Metal Manufacturing

Construction

Administrative and Support Services

339

IDAHO BUSINESSES IN

PARTNERSHIP WITH INL

Data taken from INL’s Economic Summary for fiscal year 2018

your.inl.gov | Idaho National Laboratory

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INVESTING IN IDAHO’S

FUTURE WORKFORCE

Idaho’s new Collaborative Computing Center.

The myriad energy and environmental challenges facing the world require a skilled, motivated workforce eager to solve some of humanity’s most complex problems.

necessary to model, design and validate future energy systems prior to building them.

A generation of talent at INL that has made significant progress in overcoming these challenges is now nearing retirement, putting an exclamation point on the need for fresh minds to populate the INL ranks.

The CIC represents the future of control systems cybersecurity — security that protects the networks operating sensitive infrastructure such as power grids and water treatment plants. The building houses advanced electronics labs for industry, government and academia to use for collaborations on intersecting projects.

Sensing the coming needs, INL teamed with the Idaho Legislature, the State Board of Education and Idaho’s public research universities to develop two new state-of-the-art research facilities to help develop a robust talent pipeline with opportunities to educate Idaho students.

In 2009, the lab formed a consortium with University of Idaho, Boise State University and Idaho State University to open CAES. The partnership focuses on cooperative research in geophysics, nuclear science, materials science and high-performance computing.

The new facilities offer exciting collaboration and employment opportunities for Idaho university students to get specialized training for filling STEM positions at INL or other organizations. The two new research centers — the Collaborative Computing Center (C3) and the Cybercore Integration Center (CIC) — join the already successful Center for Advanced Energy Studies (CAES) as research and laboratory space focused on the power of partnership.

Together, these three facilities comprise an accessible campus for research, education and innovation. World-renowned experts at INL and in private industry work hand-in-hand with university researchers, using advanced technological equipment and laboratory space.

High-performance computing at C3 gives universities access to affordable resources

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your.inl.gov | Idaho National Laboratory

Several current and former students have already benefitted from the unique research opportunities this partnership provides. The state, INL and partnering universities are looking forward to seeing the achievements of Idaho students that spring from this initiative.


INL LAB SPACE BUILDS MEANINGFUL CAREERS Meghan Fisher, Idaho State University Did Mars once have an atmosphere capable of supporting life? Looking for clues to answer this question, Meghan Fisher — a Ph.D. geoscience student at Idaho State University — turned to INL’s Falcon supercomputer to run simulations. Although now dormant, Mars once had the most active volcanoes in the solar system. Today, satellites orbiting the red planet can identify ash plumes left behind by ancient eruptions. Using Falcon, Fisher ran roughly 750 simulations and found that during those eruptions ash and debris likely traveled 55 to 80 km into the Martian atmosphere before falling back to the surface. On Earth, similar volcanic eruptions rise to about 50 km, leading Fisher to believe that Mars once had a thick atmosphere, which would be more conducive to supporting life. Fisher said access to INL’s high-performance computer was essential to her project. “I don’t know how it would have happened without Falcon,” she said. “Knowing that you have access to that resource makes it easier to get grants. You can tell reviewers, ‘I already have computing time, so you don’t have to worry about that.’”

Rabi Khanal, University of Idaho Rabi Khanal says his work as a University of Idaho postdoctoral researcher would be impossible without access to INL’s Falcon supercomputer. Khanal studies chemical interactions within the protective cladding of uranium-based metallic fuels. Those chemical interactions can limit the performance of reactors, so reducing them will be necessary for the next generation of nuclear energy technology. Falcon helped Khanal better understand interactions between fission products — material created when an atom splits — and element additives that could mitigate the chemical interactions. He gained valuable insights into design principles that let him predict candidate elements. INL experiments later verified those predictions, meaning researchers could avoid unnecessary experiments and save resources. Khanal said the work made it possible for him to contribute to at least 18 international scientific conferences. “I would not be able to do any of this research without the help of INL,” he said.

I don’t know how it would have happened without Falcon.” — MEGHAN

your.inl.gov | Idaho National Laboratory

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MEET THE MINDS OF INL

RITA & HONG PROTECTING AGAINST CYBERATTACKS:

At a time in her career when most people are thinking about retirement, Rita Foster is happy to be at INL helping to secure our country’s future. “I’m facing the biggest technical challenges I’ve ever had in my career, and I’m enjoying it,” said Foster, INL’s infrastructure security strategic adviser. Foster, who grew up near Caldwell and attended Idaho State University, has tackled an almost endless supply of interesting challenges, including work inside Cheyenne Mountain at North American Aerospace Defense Command and the nonproliferation of nuclear materials. In her role, Foster helps protect our nation’s critical infrastructure (i.e., the electrical grid, dams, etc.) by identifying gaps that make these systems vulnerable to cyberattacks and by finding technologies to make them more secure. One of those gaps is in protecting firmware — the permanent software programmed into a device that performs vital functions like communicating with other devices — from attacks by cyber adversaries.

We are solving some of the most difficult problems that can be applied across our nation to protect our power grid.

“We are solving some of the most difficult problems that can be applied across our nation to protect our power grid,” Foster said.

— RITA

EMPLOYEE SHOWC ASE N A M E : Rita Foster P O S I T I O N : Infrastructure Security Strategic Adviser Y E A R S A T I N L : 29 Years E D U C A T I O N : Idaho State University

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TURNING UNUSABLE CROPS INTO ENERGY: What do you do with approximately 6,000 tons of alfalfa when it’s been tainted by a pesticide used on a previously planted crop? That was the challenge presented to INL chemical engineer Hongqiang “Hong” Hu and his team by the Idaho State Department of Agriculture (ISDA). The alfalfa contained unexpected residues of methyl bromide — a pesticide used to control a roundworm outbreak in potato crops planted in 2006. Unable to use or dispose of the alfalfa, the ISDA approached INL wanting to know the feasibility of turning the tainted crop into bioenergy for heat and electricity. Hu grew up in China and received a doctorate at Oregon State University. He said he jumped at the opportunity to work at INL. “My background is mainly renewable energy and bioenergy. When I got the chance, I was very excited to work here because INL is a world leader in energy research,” Hu said. Hu and his team performed tests to learn more about the alfalfa’s physical and chemical properties and processed 11 tons of alfalfa into a pellet form that can be burned as bioenergy or biofuel. The pellets were then sent to Wyoming’s Western Research Institute for testing. The chemical was trapped in the ash and produced no emission of toxic gases, showing that tainted crops can still be viable for making heat or electricity without any risk to citizens or animals.

EMPLOYEE SHOWC ASE N A M E : Hongqiang “Hong” Hu P O S I T I O N : Chemical Engineer Y E A R S A T I N L : 5 Years E D U C A T I O N : Oregon State University

your.inl.gov | Idaho National Laboratory

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INSPIRING THE NEXT

GENERATION

In 2018, more than 6,300 science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) jobs went unfilled in Idaho because there were not enough qualified candidates.

Three students at the Idaho Youth ChalleNGe Academy. Where students have benefited from grant money and outreach efforts.

Changing that statistic starts by reaching children when they are young and curious about their world. INL’s wealth of role models with STEM expertise puts it in a unique position to reach tens of thousands of students each year in order to promote STEM education, including to those students traditionally underrepresented in STEM fields: first-generation college students, female students, students of color and students who live in remote locations. From summer internships and research fellowships to continuing employee education, INL works closely with universities in Idaho and beyond to offer accessible STEM opportunities from elementary schools to post-secondary education. By working closely with Idaho students and universities, INL can achieve its national research mission with homegrown talent.

STEM FOR FAMILIES

YourFIT introduces high school students like Brendan to career opportunities that can be obtained with certifications or two-year degrees.

Family STEM nights in elementary schools stoke interest in the problem-solving skills at the heart of STEM career paths. INL provides resources and volunteers to bring these nights to life all over the state.

HIGH SCHOOL HATCHERY

5 $6K 31 2 3

Bringing to life the passions of Idaho students can be a powerful enticement toward meaningful STEM careers. INL partners with state agencies, other organizations and schools to fund worthy projects, like Mackay High School’s hatchery, which it will expand to supply up to 20,000 fish fingerlings a year into state waters.

GIRLS GO CYBERSTART Sponsoring Idaho students to compete against their peers across the nation challenges them to excel in areas of high demand. INL sponsored the “Girls Go CyberStart” competition — a free, interactive game filled with digital challenges designed to introduce students to the field of cybersecurity. Nearly 200 students participated in Idaho.

NORTHERN STEM OUTREACH EVENTS IN STEM GRANTS INTERNS GRADUATE FELLOWS POSTDOCS

CENTRAL

2 $5K

STEM OUTREACH EVENTS IN STEM GRANTS

72 $110K 61

13 $73K 12 5 1 10

your.inl.gov | Idaho National Laboratory

WESTERN STEM OUTREACH EVENTS IN STEM GRANTS INTERNS GRADUATE FELLOWS POSTDOC

EASTERN STEM OUTREACH EVENTS IN STEM GRANTS INTERNS

29 $73K 52 2 SOUTHERN 1 4 $25K STEM OUTREACH EVENTS IN STEM GRANTS

SOUTHEASTERN STEM OUTREACH EVENTS IN STEM GRANTS INTERNS GRADUATE FELLOWS POSTDOC


BY THE

NUMBERS 9 156 Number of Idaho students with INL internships

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$325,000

Number of post-doctoral fellows from Idaho universities doing research at INL

125 An eastern Idaho bilingual STEM night saw INL researchers engage with Spanish-speaking elementary students and their families in their first language.

Number of K-12 STEM outreach activities

Number of graduate students from Idaho universities doing work at INL

Amount in scholarships and K-12 STEM grants awarded throughout Idaho by INL

62 Number of STEM outreach activities reaching underrepresented groups

40 Number of STEM outreach events led by INL employee volunteers

YOURFIT INL is helping to communicate that a rewarding STEM career doesn’t have to require a graduate degree with the Your Future in Technology (YourFIT) program. YourFIT teaches high school students and their parents about high-tech, high-wage job opportunities requiring only a certification or a two-year degree.

STEM ON THE BLUE Students at Boise State University’s STEM on the Blue benefited from working directly with STEM-major Bronco student athletes.

Students, role models and a little fun goes a long way toward promoting STEM. Young Idaho students had a blast at STEM on the Blue, a Boise State University STEM initiative that paired students with BSU athletes doing experiments, was supported by an INL grant.

ESTEC The most helpful educational programs create opportunities in important careers right here in Idaho. The Energy Systems Technology and Education Center (ESTEC), a partnership between INL, Idaho State University and Partners for Prosperity. ESTEC offers the only hands-on training program for industrial cybersecurity technicians who will protect the energy sector’s cyber infrastructure, as well as many other energy-related technician training programs.

IDAHO YOUTH CHALLENGE ACADEMY

At Lapwai Elementary School in northern Idaho, students and their families learned to make cars that demonstrated basic energy principles.

Providing mentorship and role models for aspiring youth is a key part of developing the next generation of scientists and engineers. INL engineers and staff members support initiatives like the National Guard’s Idaho Youth ChalleNGe Academy, joining U of I engineering student ambassadors to work on engineering challenges with 150 young women and men attending the academy. your.inl.gov | Idaho National Laboratory

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THE NATION’S NUCLEAR ENERGY

RESEARCH HUB

From its inception, INL has pioneered many of the technologies that helped usher the world into the nuclear energy age. INL lays claim to numerous nuclear energy firsts over its 70 years, including powering light bulbs with the first usable amounts of electricity generated by nuclear energy and lighting the first city with nuclear power. The expertise and capabilities offered by INL have lured the likes of Bill Gates — whose company is working with INL to develop a new kind of reactor — and Industry leaders such as Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems and Oregon’s NuScale Power who are building the nation’s first small modular reactor plant at the INL site. The lab’s tradition of scientific discovery and engineering research made it a logical choice to lead the National Reactor Innovation Center, which will enable private companies to test, demonstrate and measure the performance of new nuclear concepts. This research center will help private sector firms provide efficient solutions to real-world problems.

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your.inl.gov | Idaho National Laboratory

MAKING THE MOST OF EXCESS ENERGY One project aims to use excess heat from nuclear power plants for industrial applications. Shannon Bragg-Sitton, INL Systems Integration Department Manager, said that an abundance of energy produced by intermittent renewables such as wind and solar can mean nuclear plants operate at less than full capacity. Meanwhile, many industries burn fossil fuels to generate heat for industrial processes such as hydrogen production. “[Nuclear energy plants] throw away about 60% of the thermal energy. Can we do something else with that energy?” Bragg-Sitton said in a recent interview on the Titans of Nuclear podcast. Bragg-Sitton is studying how nuclear plants could divert excess heat and electricity that isn’t needed on the grid to produce hydrogen, chemicals and other products. “It’s not about replacing carbon-based resources,” she said. “It’s about using them differently.”

It’s not about replacing carbon-based resources. “It’s about using them differently. — SHANNON


TREATING TOXIC ALGAE BLOOMS

ADVANCING CARBON-FREE ELECTRICITY

INL researchers collaborated with an Idaho company to develop a technology that helps eliminate harmful cyanobacteria from bodies of water worldwide.

A collaborative effort planned for the INL site is leading the U.S. into the next generation of safe, clean and reliable electricity.

Researchers repurposed a patented nuclear fuel reprocessing technology that helps bind molecules together. That substance is now being combined with a product from Idahobased Global Phosphate Solutions — called a “phosphate sponge” — that soaks up pollutants in water.

The Carbon Free Power Project (CFPP) — a joint effort between Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS), NuScale Power and Energy Northwest — plans to build the first commercial small modular reactor (SMR) power plant at the INL site. The plant, which is scheduled to be operational by 2026, will feature a dozen power modules—smaller, more configurable versions of the 96 nuclear reactors currently providing nearly 60% of the clean, carbon-free electricity in the U.S. The CFPP power plant would generate 720 megawatts of emission-free electricity in a relatively small footprint.

Together, the two products are being used to fight harmful collections of cyanobacteria, often referred to as toxic algae blooms. These blooms, which choke freshwater lakes, ponds and other waterways all over the globe, thrive on nutrients from sewage treatment plants, animal-feeding operations and fertilizer runoff and can cause illness or death in humans and animals.

INL’s decades of nuclear reactor experience, access to major transmission lines for electricity distribution and extensive environmental data make the lab an ideal location for the plant.

The phosphate sponge removes the nutrients that cause these blooms, potentially saving taxpayers and industries billions of dollars.

INL is part of a collaborative effort with the University of Alaska to analyzing whether microreactors might help. Microreactors are small, factory-built nuclear reactors that can be used almost anywhere.

Once the plant is operational in 2026, it will supply electricity to UAMPS’ 46 members throughout the Intermountain West, including Idaho Falls, Heyburn, Mackay and Challis. One module will be designed and designated for INL research, providing the opportunity to study SMR performance, energy storage and integration with energy sources while giving researchers valuable insights into other projects, according to Jess Gehin, chief scientist of the Nuclear Science & Technology directorate at INL. “It would allow us to understand the impacts of interfacing these technologies with a full-scale nuclear plant, which is very unique,” said Gehin.

Researchers at INL are helping develop microreactor technology that could help power isolated communities, mining operations, seafood processing factories, disaster relief operations and military installations.

POWERING NASA SPACE MISSIONS

BRINGING ENERGY SECURITY TO REMOTE COMMUNITIES For isolated communities in places like Alaska, generating electricity is challenging and expensive. It’s usually impossible to string power lines over the wilderness, so cities often rely on microgrids powered by diesel fuel that is shipped hundreds of miles. “The cost disparities between urban and rural communities are enormous,” said Nolan Klouda, director of the Center for Economic Development at the University of Alaska Anchorage. “In some remote villages in the state, power might cost $1 per kilowatt-hour.”

For more than 50 years and 27 missions, NASA has used radioisotope thermoelectric generators — devices that convert the heat from the decay of plutonium into electricity — as power sources. The conditions of space require long-lasting, self-sufficient power, making these nuclear devices key for missions like the Mars Curiosity Rover. INL experts have helped make the plutonium fuel, then assembled and tested RTG devices for the New Horizons spacecraft and the Mars Curiosity Rover, and plans to do the same for the Mars 2020 rover and the Dragonfly missions. your.inl.gov | Idaho National Laboratory

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SMALL ENERGY,

BIG IMPACT

How INL is Using Renewables to Solve Power Problems Renewable and alternative energies are important factors in providing diverse energy options that align with a region’s resources. Although sunshine, running water and, yes, manure can act as energy sources of the future, they can’t yet provide the 24/7 power that first-world countries have grown used to. INL researchers are in the middle of efforts to shepherd the great ideas surrounding these technologies into applications that can protect our power in times of disaster and for the long term.

RELIABLE POWER IN REMOTE COMMUNITIES Microgrids are power systems that combine diverse energy sources, storage devices and controllable loads. They can disconnect from the grid and function as an independent island as needed. They are becoming an attractive option for communities that want to diversify their electricity sources and ensure they’re never left in the cold (or heat) during an outage. INL researcher Kurt Myers helps design and test renewable, energy-based microgrid systems for cities, military bases and other entities. He also tests energy storage systems that could someday store electricity for days or weeks at a time. Sun Valley residents are exploring using microgrids as an alternative to building a redundant power transmission line. Both solutions offer ways to keep power flowing to critical infrastructure in the event of a cyberattack, disaster or other harmful episode. The microgrid technology keeps services online with small-scale power generation or stored energy. INL researchers are offering expertise to Sun Valley throughout the process.

DIVERSIFYING SMALL HYDROPOWER Today’s power grid requires a constant stream of power to provide energy on demand. All consumers have to do is flip a switch. Yet the availability of renewable energy from water, wind and sunlight varies in ways that don’t always match consumer demand. So energy storage is essential if we want to use more of these resources. Hydropower plants, for example, produced roughly 40% of the nation’s renewable energy in 2017. About a third of that power came from smaller hydro projects, where running water in a river or canal spins a turbine. The run-of-river (ROR) hydropower in these projects is intermittent, depending on how much water is flowing. Thomas Mosier, who leads INL hydropower research, sees the possibility of creating virtual energy reservoirs from ROR hydropower. He and his team are exploring how energy-storage devices — batteries, flywheels and supercapacitors — can add stability to ROR hydropower. So far, the team has discovered that the setup can be as flexible as reservoir-based hydropower, with operators keeping electricity on hand until it is needed. INL will soon perform tests with ROR sites owned by Idaho Falls Power. The tests will determine how much energy storage is needed for ROR hydropower to stabilize the grid during a widespread outage.

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BY THE

NUMBERS ELECTRIC VEHICLES As more and more electric vehicles (EV) hit the road, INL has been compiling national data from electric vehicle users and charging stations across the United States. INL uses the data to evaluate the most efficient locations for charging stations across Idaho and beyond. The numbers can tell the story:

1,500

The number of miles of interstate in Idaho, Utah and Wyoming on which INL is working to site charging stations.

450 miles

The distance from Yellowstone’s south entrance to Glacier National Park. INL is working with the State of Montana to study an EV corridor between the parks.

$15,000

TURNING DAIRY WASTE INTO DOLLARS An ongoing environmental and economic challenge for Idaho’s dairy farmers could turn into an opportunity to help both their bottom line and the planet. Dealing with cow manure, an odorous byproduct with the potential to contaminate water tables from nitrates in runoff, has always been a problem for the dairy industry. INL economist Jason Hansen addressed these issues in a collaborative project studying the feasibility of turning that waste into energy. Hansen worked with the German Biomass Research Center to calculate the economic viability of producing biogas or biomethane, a natural gas substitute, from Idaho’s dairy waste. Hansen’s team estimates that about 45% of Idaho’s dairy manure could be used to produce biogas and biomethane through a process called anaerobic digestion.

The amount INL contributed in a grant, along with advice on charging stations, to the Sun Valley Institute for Rev Up Blaine, a reduced-rate EV purchasing program.

4 million

The number of car charges studied between January 2011 and December 2013 — the largest evaluation of EVs and charging infrastructure at that time.

10,000+

The number of entities that have sent EV driving and charging data to INL.

The key is farm size. It would take at least 3,000 cows for an anaerobic digestion plant to make economic sense. Alternatively, the same results could be achieved through cooperative plants and efficient manure transportation.

your.inl.gov | Idaho National Laboratory

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ENHANCING OUR NATIONAL

SECURITY

Idaho National Laboratory provides key capabilities and technical expertise to secure our country from man-made and natural threats. Our researchers are world-renown for their ability to protect critical utility and communication systems from cyberthreats and provide hands-on instructional training to the public and private sectors. More than just cybersecurity, we also confront threats to the homeland by stopping the spread of illicit nuclear materials around the world, training emergency first responders and building customized armor packages for vehicles and structures.

CYBER STRIKE WORKSHOP INL’s Cyber Strike workshop is one way the lab is helping owners and operators of electricity utilities enhance their preparedness for cyberthreats. Using hands-on training devices and threat intelligence information gleaned from actual cyber events, this eight-hour program challenges participants to defend against a cyberattack using the same equipment they routinely use in their power generation and distribution network. “Our experts seek novel approaches … by developing singular immersive learning environment methods and tools,” said Daniel Noyes, an Idaho native who leads INL’s efforts to safeguard industrial control systems and critical infrastructure. “INL experts are in high demand nationally and internationally to provide education and training to elevate cyber skills and provide cyber awareness through sharing real-world knowledge and experiences.” Recently, INL opened a brand-new, 80,000 square foot Cybercore Integration Center to coordinate and lead national efforts to secure utility control systems and computers from an increasing array of cyberthreats. Built with collaboration in mind, researchers will be working side-by-side with state, local and national organizations and universities to ensure essential services like electricity, water and transportation systems are secure and protected. p

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your.inl.gov | Idaho National Laboratory

DID YOU

KNOW?

85% of the nation’s critical energy infrastructure has been evaluated at INL.


FIRST-RESPONDER TRAINING FOR RADIATION EVENTS When it comes to preparing military and civilian first responders to detect and identify radiological dispersion devices and other weapons of mass destruction, INL is one of the few training locations in the world with the necessary facilities, technical capabilities and materials for performing this important job. Since shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, INL’s 890-square-mile site has offered a distinctive training ground for National Guard Civil Support Teams to practice radiological detection and identification techniques. INL experts lead hands-on field activities and classroom instruction where participants learn how to detect, measure and move radiological materials out of harms way.

WIRELESS SECURITY INSTITUTE Fifth-generation wireless technology, or 5G, promises to deliver large amounts of data through wireless means, setting a newer, higher baseline speed for the Internet. Wireless carriers and equipment manufacturers are incorporating 5G capabilities in their devices and working to construct national 5G networks. As this technological revolution moves forward, INL researchers are coordinating national research efforts to secure this information flow and prevent damaging disruptions. The laboratory has established the INL Wireless Security Institute to lead government, academic and private industry research efforts to secure and improve the reliability of 5G wireless technology. The Institute draws on INL’s extensive expertise and unique facilities that have been used for more than two decades to analyze, design, test and improve cellular, radio and satellite communication systems for government agencies and global wireless communication companies. INL already maintains one of the nation’s largest and most diverse wireless communication test ranges, equipped with advanced capabilities to validate new equipment and network configurations. With these resources, INL experts have discovered new electronic and radio-frequency-phenomena solutions recognized by national and international patent offices and standards committees.

your.inl.gov | Idaho National Laboratory

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MEET THE MINDS OF INL

VIVEK, AARON & AMANDA

ADVANCING NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGY Vivek Agarwal didn’t actually look for a job at INL, but he’s happy someone reached out and recruited him when he was finishing his nuclear engineering Ph.D. at Purdue University in 2011. Born and raised in Chennai, India (population 10.3 million), Idaho Falls required some culture adjustment, as did moving from the college towns of West Lafayette, Indiana, and Knoxville, Tennessee, where he earned his master’s degree in electrical engineering. Agarwal and his wife, Geetika Gupta, have two daughters: Krisha, 1, and Inaya, 3. “I’m a minority in my family,” Agarwal joked. “I have very little to say in what to do.” The family enjoys outdoor activities and traveling. “We’re very much an outdoors family,” Agarwal said. “We have a bucket list of national parks, and Idaho Falls is the ideal launching pad for those visits.” Vivek was recently one of three INL employees to receive the prestigious Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. His main project lets him collaborate with nuclear vendors and commercial nuclear power plants on helping nuclear plants reduce maintenance and operational costs with new technologies that integrate risk and current machine health conditions. Using machine learning, they’ll create a predictive maintenance strategy informed by real risks rather than overly conservative guesses. Vivek believes the project will advance the nuclear industry in the next two years. By then, he and his family will have checked a couple more national parks off their list.

“The nuclear industry is heavily regulated, often using technologies from the 1960s and ‘70s, while technology has transformed substantially. That needs to change, and change is not easy.”

EMPLOYEE SHOWC ASE N A M E : Vivek Agarwal P O S I T I O N : Nuclear Engineer Y E A R S A T I N L : 8 Years E D U C A T I O N : Purdue University, University of Tennessee

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your.inl.gov | Idaho National Laboratory

— VIVEK


STUDYING AND ADVOCATING FOR NUCLEAR ENERGY If you’re lucky enough to go to Aaron Craft’s home for dinner, be ready for three things: tasty St. Louis-style barbecue, active two-year-old twins and hearing the good news about nuclear energy. “It’s a lot easier to scare people away from something than it is to educate them about it,” acknowledges Craft, a research scientist who came to INL in 2013 after finishing his Ph.D. at the Colorado School of Mines. “I have a small sphere of influence, but nuclear power to me is something I can work on that will have a major impact on the world.” Thus, he views his job as having two parallel tracks: conducting neutron imaging of nuclear fuel and advocating for nuclear energy. “Neutron imaging” is shorthand for studying used nuclear fuel in an effort to make fuels safer and more efficient. Craft compares it to a doctor taking an X-ray to look through skin to see a bone except instead of X-rays, we use neutrons from a research reactor to image nuclear fuel. Those images show researchers intricate details such as internal cracks, swelling and other effects that occur while in a nuclear reactor. As for advocacy, Craft starts where he and his family live, with presentations at southeast Idaho schools and museums teaching about radiation and nuclear power. He is well-versed in nuclear energy history — from Atoms for Peace to the 52 reactors used at INL over the years. “INL is the birthplace of nuclear power, so coming here was the obvious choice.” Plus, he considers eastern Idaho a wonderful place for him and his wife Melissa to raise their boys, Gabriel and Baron.

EMPLOYEE SHOWC ASE N A M E : Aaron Craft P O S I T I O N : Research Scientist Y E A R S A T I N L : 6.5 Years E D U C A T I O N : Colorado School of Mines

USING NEUTRON RADIOGRAPHY TO UNDERSTAND OCEANIC POLLUTION When it comes to studying sea sponges, Amanda Smolinski knows it’s what’s inside that counts. The Idaho State University graduate student is examining a particular type of sea sponge believed to soak up heavy metals in polluted areas of the ocean. Using the metallic content found inside the sponges could help map ocean health. Knowing exactly what’s inside, however, can be tricky. Her solution? Working with INL researchers to examine the sea sponges using the lab’s technique for inspecting radiation’s effect on equipment. For more than four decades, INL has used its Neutron Radiography Reactor (NRAD) to peer inside nuclear fuel rods and pieces of equipment to look for tiny flaws caused by radiation; those nicks and imperfections can reduce safety and performance. Yet as scientists and researchers are wont to do, the INL team has been on the lookout for other beneficial ways to put NRAD to work. Smolinski’s project could yield information helpful to both NRAD and ISU. She sees possibilities in INL’s radiation studies for her own work. “I’d like to use that information to create pollution maps,” she said. Neutron radiographs work in concert with X-rays — based on similar principles, they highlight different things. While X-rays are particularly good at showing metals and bones, neutron radiographs better show types of rubber and plastics. As far as nuclear reactors go, the NRAD is relatively small — compared to many electricity-producing nuclear reactors that produce 1,000 megawatts — 4,000 times larger. Thus, the NRAD is right-sized for specialized science.

INTERN SHOWCASE N A M E : Amanda Smolinski P O S I T I O N : Biology Student E D U C A T I O N : Idaho State University

your.inl.gov | Idaho National Laboratory

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GOING BIG FOR

SMALL BUSINESS As the nation’s nuclear laboratory, INL relies on various businesses of all sizes to provide many of the supplies, services and partnerships needed to accomplish its mission. However, INL has a preference for small business and invites participation by small, disadvantaged, woman-owned, HUBZone and service-disabled veteran-owned businesses. Also important to INL are partnerships with suppliers in Idaho.

GRAVIS TECH, WALLACE Sera White and Greg Bosen wanted to strike out on their own as small business owners. Invigorated by the experience they gained while working at INL, the married couple sought to help companies use technology to solve energy and environmental challenges. So, in 2015, the couple created Gravis Tech, which uses technology, data analytics and data visualization to help clients expand the reach of their online communications.

As a result of our partnership, ISD has seen steady growth and has been able to invest in local people and local businesses. — KEVIN SKINNER, President and CEO of Integrated Solutions and Design, Inc., Melba and Nampa

The company’s presence in northern Idaho connects INL resources and capabilities to a broader statewide network. “Our partnership [with INL] is essential to our company’s growth goals,” said White. “We’re bringing in high-paying jobs and INL dollars to our community here in Wallace, and that has a real impact on an economically depressed area.” Gravis Tech has seven full-time employees and several subcontractors, as well as consultants they call on for special projects, Gravis Tech has steadily grown in size and capability. The company is well-positioned to help propel INL and other clients in government, healthcare and environmental industries into the future.

CENTRAL

$0.6M 5

NORTHERN

$10.7M 8

BUSINESS PARTNERS

BUSINESS PARTNERS

EASTERN

$100.6M 216 BUSINESS PARTNERS

WESTERN

$21.9M 73 BUSINESS PARTNERS

SOUTHERN

$4M 9

BUSINESS PARTNERS

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your.inl.gov | Idaho National Laboratory

SOUTHEASTERN

$9.5M 28

BUSINESS PARTNERS

“We have the ability to work with just about anybody, and we are pretty choosy in who we take on as clients,” Bosen said. “One of the key criteria for our clients is their impact on the world. We have a firm belief in INL’s mission, and we want to contribute as much as possible to the success of the lab’s operations.”


MELNI CONNECTORS, TWIN FALLS Twin Falls small businessman Mark Melni was pretty sure he had an industry-changing invention on his hands. The entrepreneur had designed a way to repair broken underground electric lines more than six times faster than existing methods, which in hazardous environments could mean saving lives. But before his electrical connector could be certified for use, he had to put it to the test — literally. Unable to find a private facility that could safely provide the voltage needed to test his invention, Mark turned to INL’s Technical Assistance Program, which provides access to scientific and engineering expertise for small businesses. “The Technical Assistance Program helps entrepreneurs like me get help we couldn’t get anywhere else,” Melni said. INL’s extensive electrical testing paid off for Melni, who successfully pitched his connector on ABC’s “Shark Tank,” a reality show that assembles billionaire investors to hear grand ideas from hopeful inventors. One investor, Mark Cuban (owner of the Dallas Mavericks), was so impressed by the connector that he offered a $500,000 investment in exchange for a 12% stake in the company. The investment spurred an increase in the company’s online presence and sales orders after the episode aired. “INL is one of the best things to happen to our company,” Melni said. “Without the lab’s help, we would not be anywhere near where we are today.”

CLEARWATER ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, LEWISTON Christine St. Germaine understands the creativity and entrepreneurial spirit of Lewiston and the people who call it home. It is a place where rugged individualism is less philosophy than necessity. St. Germaine, executive director of the Clearwater Economic Development Council, envisioned a gathering of like-minded individuals where they could network, hear from experts, acquire information and learn how to connect ideas and products with global marketplaces. There was only one problem: her idea cost too much money. When St. Germaine looked around for financial help, she found an unexpected source: the INL Community Grant. “The INL Community Grant has provided tremendous support to our efforts in establishing a local innovator networking group, Igniting Innovation,” said St. Germaine. The first of many Igniting Innovation sessions was held in Orofino in October 2016, and the group quickly learned they could benefit from a dedicated space with access to product-design software and a 3D printer. But when the group discovered that the shared laptop didn’t have the required computing power, St. Germaine once again turned to INL, which provided additional funding for a computer upgrade that drives the programs with ease.

5 Simple Steps to working with INL TO BECOME A VENDOR OR SUPPLIER, ALL BUSINESSES MUST:

1

Obtain a Dun & Bradstreet D-U-N-S® Number at dnb.com

2

If you don’t already have one, apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) at IRS.gov

3

Small businesses (500 employees or fewer over three years) must register on the System for Awards Management (registration is free) at SAM.gov

4

Register on the INL vendor portal at vendor.inl.gov

5

Send your line card or capability statement to Stacey.Francis@inl.gov

your.inl.gov | Idaho National Laboratory

21


INL OFFERS ARCHAEOLOGICAL

RESEARCH BONANZA If you think archaeology is about retrieving golden idols from snake-filled caves, Dr. Suzann Henrikson of Idaho National Laboratory’s Cultural Resources Management Office would like you to know it’s far more interesting than that. On the lab’s northern boundary lies what’s left of Lake Terreton, a historically large body of water fed by the glacial runoff at the end of the ice age, around 15,000 years ago. Some of the earliest human inhabitants of North America lived there hunting huge mammals. What makes the research on INL’s 890-square miles compelling is that these people were most likely the forebears of the bands of Shoshone and Bannock people who now comprise the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. “This really is their story,” Henrikson said. “I have no reason to believe their ancestors weren’t the first people here and the first bison hunters here.”

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your.inl.gov | Idaho National Laboratory

The tribes have their legends and stories, products of an oral tradition that stretches back centuries. Ultimately, collecting those stories along with pictographs and petroglyphs, then matching them with the scientific findings is what will provide the most complete picture of what happened during the last 15,000 years.

INL’s vas vast area has been off limits to the pub public for nearly 70 years, which ma makes it an archaeological treasure. The land holds the informatio information from 13,000 years of occupa occupation by the Shoshone and Bann Bannock people and their ancestors ancestors. The U.S. Department of Energy is responsible for managing all archae archaeological resources on its land and “protect and preserve” are at tthe heart of INL’s C Cultural Resources Management Plan.

In the 1950s archaeology underwent a revolution, with the focus shifting from the collection of artifacts to the study of people and how they survived over thousands of years on an ever-changing landscape. Lake Terreton is one such story of constant change. By 8,000 years ago, when the glaciers had disappeared, the archaeological record indicates the lake evaporated. In response ancestors of the Shoshone and Bannock people began to use the entire Snake River Plain, including the open sagebrush steppe, where water would have only been available in seasonal meltwater ponds. “I think (sharing archaeological research) is important for the Tribes,” said Larae Bill, Cultural Resources specialist for the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes Cultural Resources/Heritage Tribal Office Program. Her people, especially the elders, are sensitive to what has happened to the land in the past few hundred years. “It will help the scientific world to know we’ve been here for thousands and thousands of years and we need to protect and preserve our history,” Bill said.


ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING

IS A TEAM EFFORT AT INL While sage-grouse populations in the American West have declined by more than half in the past 100 years due to habitat loss, the INL site is still a place the birds call home. Though fires periodically burn across parts of the site, and sagebrush takes decades to recover, the INL site still holds large tracts of undisturbed sagebrush habitat.

INL understands that Idahoans have questions about the environmental effects of its activities — not only on the land it occupies but far beyond it. That’s why the lab strives for transparency by collecting more than 2,000 samples annually from monitoring stations spread over 9,000 square miles. Experts take air, water, soil, milk and external radiation samples, and send them to independent laboratories for analysis. On top of that, the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ) INL Oversight Program performs independent verification of the lab’s environmental monitoring and does its own evaluations. DEQ’s annual reports are publicly available in print and online.

In 1975, the INL Site was designated a National Environmental Research Park. It maintains several regionally and nationally important long-term ecological datasets, including one of the largest datasets on sagebrush steppe vegetation anywhere.

SAFE HABITAT FOR ANIMALS

A HISTORY OF RESPECT FOR THE LAND

Veolia, the company that manages the Environmental Surveillance, Education and Research (ESER) Program for the U.S. Department of Energy, has a team that includes health physicists, environmental scientists, wildlife biologists, plant ecologists, geographic information system (GIS) specialists and support staff. ESER’s role is to provide expertise and advice to the DOE’s Idaho Operations Office and assess the impacts of activities and natural phenomena, such as wildland fires, at the INL site.

Environmental monitoring at INL can trace its roots back to 1950 when the Atomic Energy Commission was getting ready to build its first experimental reactors. That year, AEC set aside 100 long-term plots for studying the potential effects on native vegetation. Those plots continue to be surveyed every five to seven years.

The ESER program conducts midwinter raptor counts, breeding bird surveys, raven nest surveys and bat population surveys. Many vegetation plots are surveyed annually, and others are visited every few years. Telemetry studies involving radio collars have been done on elk, pygmy rabbits, coyotes and sage-grouse.

DOE has funded sage-grouse monitoring at INL since 1995. Radio collars provide data on habitat use, nesting behavior and mortality, while biologists perform lek surveys every spring to get rough and relative population counts. Leks are places where males gather during the mating season to strut and display. In 2014, DOE-Idaho entered into a Candidate Conservation Agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to establish a sage-grouse conservation area. To guard against population declines, it includes declining population and habitat triggers that would initiate an automatic response by both the USFWS and DOE-Idaho. The INL site also is a proven pathway for two bat species as they migrate southward in the late summer and early fall. Every other year, the ESER Program conducts a count of hibernating bats in select INL site caves and routinely monitors bat populations using acoustical monitors set up at cave mouths that switch on at dusk and turn off at dawn.

Coyotes are one of the species that find undisturbed habitat on the INL site. Radio collars have been used to conduct telemetry studies on coyotes, as well as elk, pygmy rabbits and sage-grouse. Photo courtesy of Veolia

We’re not just about compliance, but safety. It’s not good enough to be as good as regular industry. We have to be better.


10 THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT

IDAHO NATIONAL LABORATORY In 1951, INL researchers were the first ever to generate a usable amount of electricity from atomic energy at Experimental Breeder Reactor No. 1 (EBR-I).

INL’s Advanced Test Reactor can cause years or decades worth of neutron aging in just weeks or months, helping to determine the safety of materials used in nuclear power plants.

INL has its own team of archaeologists who work on a variety of projects on-site, including uncovering the remains of a pioneer who died along the Oregon Trail and identifying and recovering the personal effects from a World War II bomber that crashed during a training run.

INL employs a full-time glass blower who designs and creates special glassware that researchers use in experiments.

The Environmental Protection Agency and INL together operate a test bed designed to simulate municipal water systems, where researchers contaminated the above-ground piping with an anthrax-related microbe and then flushed the system to determine the best methods for removing the microorganism. These test results are helping other agencies understand how to prepare for any type of anthrax attack.

DID YOU

KNOW?

While sage-grouse populations in the American West have declined by more than half in the past 100 years due to habitat loss, INL’s 890-square-mile site is still one place the birds call home.

INL assembled and tested the power source for the Mars Curiosity Rover and is doing so again for NASA’s planned mission to Mars in summer of 2020.

Since 1984, INL has been the lead manufacturer of armor packages for the U.S. Army’s Abrams Main Battle Tank.

The INL site encompasses 890 square miles — an area 85% the size of the state of Rhode Island. In addition to U.S. Department of Energy research facilities, other federal contractors work to remove legacy waste and operate the Naval Reactors Facility.

INL is the only U.S. entity that produces medical-grade Cobalt 60 for cancer treatment.

E-waste (discarded cellphones, PCs, laptops, tablets, etc.) accounts for 2% of the trash in America’s landfills but equals 70% of the nation’s overall toxic waste. INL researchers have developed a more economical and environmentally friendly method to recover the precious metals in these devices.

The INL site is a proven pathway for four bat species as they migrate south in late summer and early fall. Every other year, wildlife biologists count the bats hibernating in 31 different lava tubes.

Designated as a National Environmental Research Park in 1975, the INL site maintains several regionally and nationally important and long-term ecological data sets, including one of the largest data sets on sagebrush steppe vegetation anywhere.

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