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The Light Water Reactor Sustainability (LWRS) Program is a research and development program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, performed in close collaboration and cooperation with related industry research and development programs. The LWRS Program provides technical foundations for licensing and managing the long-term safe and economical operation of current nuclear power plants, utilizing the unique capabilities of the national laboratory system. For the purpose of the LWRS Program, "sustainability" means the prudent use of resources – in this case, our nation's commercial nuclear power plants. Sustainability is defined as the ability to maintain safe and economic operation of the existing fleet of nuclear power plants for as long as possible and practical. It has two facets with respect to long-term operations: (1) manage the aging of plant systems, structures, and components so that nuclear power plant lifetimes can be extended and the plants can continue to operate safely, efficiently, and economically; and (2) provide science-based solutions to the industry to implement technology to exceed the performance of the current labor-intensive business model.

The following LWRS Program research and development focuses on four research and development areas:


  • Materials Aging and Degradation

  • Advanced Instrumentation, Information, and Control Systems Technologies

  • Risk-Informed Safety Margin Characterization

  • Reactor Safety Technologies