Here at 3D Rapid Print, one of the fastest growing 3D Printing companies in the Thames Valley, we like to keep abreast of the latest innovations in 3D printing.

On May 11th 2020, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) of Tennessee announced that a group of its researchers were working on a 3D printed nuclear reactor core, proclaiming that their so-called “Transformational Challenge Reactor” (TCR) will be the first of its kind in the world. Thus far, the TCR project has decided on an overall design for the reactor core and done what ORNL referred to as a “three-monthsprint”” to demonstrate how fast a prototype version of it could be 3D printed. (ORNL failed to properly define their use of the word “sprint.”)

Only one new nuclear power plant has been built in America in the last 20 years; ORNL argues that this due to nuclear reactors being so expensive, taking decades to build, and relying on technology that is stuck in the 1960s. They claim that more than half of America’s nuclear reactors will be retired within the next 20 years, despite nuclear power generating circa a fifth of the country’s electricity.

The team is currently focusing on refining the core’s design, scaling up the 3D printing processes necessary to build it, and establishing how to measure the reliability of its 3D printed parts. The ORNL became the home of the world’s first continuously operating nuclear reactor back in 1943, and the TCR will mark the 14th nuclear reactor built and operated by them. They intend to switch it on for the first time by 2023.

3D printing is an amazing tool. It can grow your small business or start a mini revolution in an industry. Explore what it can do for you when you contact us today.

Disclaimer: Featured image of “HD.6D.117 (10731253473)” is a work of a United States Department Of Energy (or predecessor organization) employee, taken or made as part of that person’s official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image is in the public domain.