WASHINGTON, April 4 (Reuters) – The flagship of the Trump administration’s advanced nuclear power research program could cost about 40 percent more than a government official estimated earlier this year, a U.S. Department of Energy document shows.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry has tried to breathe life into the country’s nuclear power industry, which is suffering in the face of competition from plants burning cheap natural gas as well as falling costs for wind and solar power.

Perry announced the versatile test reactor, or VTR, in late February, saying it was a “key step to implementing President (Donald) Trump’s direction to revitalize and expand the U.S. nuclear industry,” and critical for national security.

The VTR would allow U.S. companies to conduct advanced technology and fuels tests