Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of



The Idaho National Laboratory (INL), an 890-square-mile section of desert in Eastern Idaho, was established in 1949 as the National Reactor Testing Station. Initially, the missions at the INL were the development of civilian and defense nuclear reactor technologies and management of spent nuclear fuel. Fifty-two reactors—most of them first-of-a-kind—were built, including the Navy’s first prototype nuclear propulsion plant. Of the 52 reactors, three remain in operation at the site. In 1951, the INL achieved one of the most significant scientific accomplishments of the century—the first use of nuclear fission to produce a usable quantity of electricity at the Experimental Breeder Reactor No. 1 (EBR-1). The EBR-1 is now a Registered National Historic Landmark open to the public.

During the 1970s, the name of the site was changed from the National Reactor Testing Station to the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory. This change reflected the broadened mission into biotechnology, energy and materials research, and conservation and renewable energy. The name changed again in 1997 to the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory. This change reflected a major refocus toward engineering applications and environmental solutions. On February 1, 2005, the name changed again to the Idaho National Laboratory (INL). This change reflects a move back to the laboratory’s historic roots in nuclear energy and national security.



Separate from INL, the Idaho Cleanup Project (ICP) involves the safe environmental cleanup of the Idaho site, contaminated with legacy wastes generated from World War II-era conventional weapons testing, government-owned research and defense reactors, spent nuclear fuel reprocessing, laboratory research, and other defense missions.  The project focuses on reducing risks to workers, the public, and the environment, and protecting the Eastern Snake River Plain Aquifer (EPA), a sole source aquifer that sustains Idaho's agricultural base and numerous cities.

The Idaho Cleanup Project Citizens Advisory Board is a federally appointed citizens' panel that provides independent advice and recommendations to the Office of Assistant Secretary, and designees, for the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Environmental Management (EM) Program.



FY 2018 Enacted FY 2019 Enacted FY 2020 Request
434,071 433,200 334,854

(INL Defense Environmental Cleanup. Amounts in thousands of dollars. Click here for the latest site budget.)


  • Battelle Energy Alliance (BEA) – INL Management & Operations

    • BEA is made up of Battelle, BWX Technologies, Inc., AECOM, Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), and University Partners

  • Fluor Idaho, LLC – Idaho Cleanup Project Core Contract

    • Includes team subcontractors CH2M, Waste Control Specialists, and Idaho-based small businesses North Wind and Portage.


Federal Government

State Government

 Local Government



  • 65,000 cubic meters of stored transuranic waste retrieved - 50,000 meters of it from under a soil berm inside a building large enough to house an aircraft carrier.

  • 900,000 gallons of sodium-bearing liquid radioactive waste currently stored in underground stainless steel tanks will be treated at the newly constructed, first-of-a-kind Integrated Waste Treatment Unit (IWTU).

  • 73%: 11 of the 15 high-level waste tanks have been emptied and grouted.


Updated August 2019.
Information in this profile is sourced from DOE, NNSA, and the site’s online resources.