Deep Isolation to Present Paper in Collaboration with the Deep Borehole Demonstration Center at the IAEA International Conference in November 2023 in Vienna

LONDON – Deep Isolation, a leading innovator in nuclear waste storage and disposal solutions, will present its paper on deep borehole demonstration at the IAEA’s International Conference on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management, Decommissioning, Environmental Protection and Remediation: Ensuring Safety and Enabling Sustainability, to be held in Vienna, Austria from 6 to 10 November 2023.

The paper, titled “Progress towards the demonstration of deep borehole disposal”, was co-authored by the Deep Borehole Demonstration Center’s Executive Director, Ted Garrish (former Assistant Secretary for International Affairs at the U.S. Department of Energy), Deep Isolation’s Director of Systems Engineering, Dr. Ethan Bates, and Chris Parker, Global Head of Business Development and Managing Director for Deep Isolation EMEA. It provides an update on progress towards an end-to-end demonstration of deep borehole disposal for radioactive waste, following the research study presented at the IAEA International Conference on Radioactive Waste Management in November 2021.

“I’m pleased that the IAEA is showcasing our progress towards a deep borehole demonstration,” says co-author Chris Parker. “The nuclear industry knows that in order to grow it needs safe, scalable and cost-effective solutions to dispose of the spent fuel and high-level waste it creates ꟷ and a full-scale demonstration of deep borehole disposal is the logical next step towards this.”

In 2021/22, Deep Isolation and the University of Sheffield conducted a study, revealing that four out of five policymakers, regulators and waste management professionals around the world want greater international collaboration on deep borehole disposal, with their number one priority being a full-scale demonstration of the technology. To address this, an independent, non-profit organization, the Deep Borehole Demonstration Center, was founded at the end of 2022 by a coalition of government and industry partners. The paper outlines the nonprofit’s multi-year program, its work completed to date to advance the safety case and technical readiness for deep borehole disposal and priorities for the year ahead.

“This year has been incredibly productive for the Deep Borehole Demonstration Center. We’ve seen remarkable progress, from growing our membership base to conducting crucial tests and launching our ambitious demonstration program. Our commitment to advancing safe deep borehole disposal is receiving strong global support, and we’re excited about the journey ahead,” says co-author Ted Garrish.

The paper also highlights the progress and plans of government, regulatory, and private-sector supporters of the Deep Borehole Demonstration Center. Since the public launch at Waste Management Symposia in February 2023, the Center has been engaged in dialogue with a large number of interested parties and already has:

  • Secured memberships from public and private sector organizations representing waste disposal interests in nine countries. 
  • Secured community consent to a multi-year non-radioactive demonstration program at the Center’s facility in Cameron, Texas
  • Performed an initial field test at Cameron, demonstrating the interoperability of Deep Isolation’s disposal canister (designed for the deep geological disposal of pressurized water reactor fuel assemblies in boreholes) with standard lifting and emplacement technologies used by the oil and gas sector.
  • Secured funding – via the UK Government’s Energy Entrepreneur’s Fund and the US Department of Energy’s ARPA-E program – to undertake more extensive surface and sub-surface canister testing over the next two years.
  • Established partnerships aimed at extending the Center’s test program from Cameron’s shale geology, to encompass different geologies and jurisdictions.

The Deep Borehole Demonstration Center also announced today that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with TNO, an independent research organization in the Netherlands with a mission to generate innovative solutions to achieve a safe, healthy, sustainable, and digital society and boost the earning power of the Netherlands. “We are looking forward to this collaboration with the Deep Borehole Demonstration Center, in order to explore ultra deep boreholes as one of the geological storage options for nuclear waste”, says TNO’s Director Tirza van Daalen. “By bringing together our organizations’ capabilities, we aim to explore joint research activities, field tests, and further progress demonstration projects”.

This collaboration with TNO means that the Deep Borehole Demonstration Center is now pursuing demonstration at three sites: with TNO for ultra deep wellbore disposal at its Rijswijk Centre for Sustainable Geo-energy (an open innovation lab with facilities available for full-scale testing and demonstration of new drilling techniques); in crystalline rock through the Center’s MOU with Norsk Kjernekraft and in shale geology at its own test center at Cameron, Texas.


About Deep Isolation 
Deep Isolation is a leading global innovator in nuclear waste storage and disposal solutions. Driven by a passion for environmental stewardship and scientific ingenuity, the company’s patented solution of advanced nuclear technologies enables global delivery through its partnerships with industry leaders as well as flexible IP licensing options.

About the Deep Borehole Demonstration Center
The nonprofit Deep Borehole Demonstration Center was established to provide interested entities and governments worldwide with an independent organization through which to commission projects that characterize and advance the technical readiness of deep borehole nuclear waste disposal technologies.

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Deep Isolation, Inc.
2001 Addison St., Suite 300
Berkeley, CA 94704


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BERKELEY, CA – Deep Isolation is part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s $9 million “CREATE” funding initiative to help shore up domestic energy production, improve energy efficiency and reliability, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Deep Isolation’s selected project will deliver testing and demonstration of key technologies for deep borehole disposal at a test facility in Cameron, Texas managed by the non-profit Deep Borehole Demonstration Center.

The U.S. Department of Energy selected 18 projects covering a wide range of energy technologies across the nation, as part of the Creating Revolutionary Energy and Technology Endeavors (CREATE) Exploratory Topic managed by the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). The selected projects support America’s net-zero goals while increasing energy and national security.

This investment by the U.S. Department of Energy represents a major early contribution to the work of the Deep Borehole Demonstration Center – a nonprofit, multinational initiative launched by international stakeholders in February 2023 to progressively implement a full-scale demonstration of deep borehole disposal. 

In the official ARPA-E announcement made earlier this month, Director Evelyn N. Wang said “the projects announced today are outside-the-box ideas, and present a variety of exciting ways to identify solutions and reach President Biden’s ambitious decarbonization goals”. Click here to read the ARPA-E press release.

Deep Isolation’s awarded proposal, titled Sequential Advancement of Technology for Deep Borehole Disposal (SAVANT) and led by Dr. Ethan Bates, Director of Systems Engineering for the company, is a close to half a million dollar project that focuses on laboratory and field testing of the Universal Canister System (UCS) being developed by Deep Isolation. Deep borehole disposal and the canister designs being advanced could provide a safe disposal option for most heat generating wastes currently in storage around the world and for a wide range of the spent fuels from major advanced nuclear reactors currently in development. Dr. Bates stated: “Our Technology Readiness Level assessments show that the canister emplacement and retrieval operations are key components of the wider disposal system that are priorities for additional tests and demonstration. By conducting laboratory, surface, and sub-surface testing of Deep Isolation’s canister designs at partner labs and at Cameron over the next two years, the SAVANT project will help us move deep borehole disposal as a total system from a conceptual design stage towards a licensing design stage”.

“This is another big achievement for our team, and a significant step forward for nuclear disposal”, said Rod Baltzer, COO at Deep Isolation. “I am very proud of our team and looking forward to working with global partners on tackling one of the biggest issues of our time”.  

Ted Garrish, Director of the independent, nonprofit Deep Borehole Demonstration Center, said: “This is an exciting development that will accelerate the work of the international, public-private-partnership that is coming together to demonstrate the whole system on an end-to-end basis at the Deep Borehole Demonstration Center.  I look forward to working with the Deep Isolation team to test the Universal Canister System and to share the results widely across the growing international community of stakeholders that see borehole disposal as pivotal to solving the world’s nuclear waste problem.”

This project supports ARPA-E’s mission of “improving management, clean-up and disposal of radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel”.

In parallel, the project will open up a global opportunity for U.S. high-value manufacturing of deep borehole disposal system components estimated at $135 billion. As part of the SAVANT project, Deep Isolation will partner with EPRI (the Electric Power Research Institute) to develop a U.S. based supply chain to support large-scale manufacture of the Universal Canister System. Craig Stover, Senior Program Manager at EPRI, says: “The supply chains surrounding advanced nuclear technologies are a key priority for the successful deployment of these technologies. The SAVANT project correctly identifies supply chain development as fundamental. Deep borehole disposal is an important option for the nuclear power companies that EPRI works with, and our team looks forward to supporting this technology option as it matures.”


About Deep Isolation

Deep Isolation is a leading global innovator in nuclear waste storage and disposal solutions. Driven by a passion for environmental stewardship and scientific ingenuity, the company’s patented solution of advanced nuclear technologies enables global delivery through its partnerships with industry leaders as well as flexible IP licensing options.

About the Universal Canister System

Deep Isolation is developing – with support from the ARPA-E ONWARDS program – a Universal Canister System (UCS) for the safe storage, transport and disposal of spent nuclear fuel from advanced reactors. Once encapsulated in a UCS canister, the spent fuel from any advanced reactor will be both safe and future-proofed – that is, ready for any option the waste owner may choose in the future: long-term storage, disposal in a mined geologic disposal facility or disposal in a deep borehole repository. The prototype UCS canister being developed by the current ONWARDS project will be used for field testing at Cameron in Project SAVANT.    

About the Deep Borehole Demonstration Center

The nonprofit Deep Borehole Demonstration Center was established to provide interested entities and governments worldwide with an independent organization through which to commission projects that characterize and advance the technical readiness of deep borehole nuclear waste disposal technologies. Work at the Center kicked off in February 2023, when it worked with industry partners Deep Isolation, Amentum and NAC International to conduct a first series of tests in Cameron, Texas. The tests demonstrated the compatibility of a newly designed waste canister for a Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR) spent nuclear fuel assembly with standard lifting equipment for the oil and gas industry for use in deep borehole disposal operations. The PWR canister (developed by Deep Isolation) is suitable for disposal of the great majority of spent fuel assemblies currently in existence, and forms a key technology building block being used to inform the development of the Universal Canister System for future disposal of spent fuel from advanced reactors.

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LONDON — Deep Isolation EMEA Limited has been contracted by the radioactive waste management organizations of Slovenia and Croatia, ARAO and the Fund for financing the decommissioning of the Krško NPP (Fond-NEK) respectively, to deliver a cost study for the potential borehole disposal of spent fuel and high-level radioactive wastes from the Krško Nuclear Power Plant.

This study will examine the costs associated with the disposal of the two countries’ shared inventory of PWR spent fuel assemblies in either generic crystalline basement geologies or shale geologies such as at the Krško power plant.   It will include cost comparisons for repository architectures based on both vertical and horizontal boreholes.  The results of this eight-month project are due to be delivered to ARAO and Fond-NEK in February 2024.

ARAO’s Head of Planning and Development, Leon Kegel says “We are working in parallel to update our estimates for the option to construct a mined repository for this waste, as well as working with Deep Isolation to quantify the economic benefits of the deep borehole option.  These projects will provide us with important cost data to inform our updated waste management strategy for Krško in 2024.”

This project builds on previous work that Deep Isolation has undertaken for Croatia and Slovenia: a preliminary high-level cost review undertaken as part of a wider review of deep borehole disposal across the European countries that are members of the ERDO Association; and a study carried out for ARAO in exploring boreholes as a safe and economic option for the disposal of Slovenia’s TRIGA II research reactor waste.

We are excited to be working with ARAO and the Fund again on this next project, “ said Chris Parker, Managing Director for Deep Isolation EMEA.  “The inventory of waste at Krško is extremely well suited to boreholes and we are keen to help the governments of Croatia and Slovenia to optimize their waste management strategy for Krško.”


About Deep Isolation

Deep Isolation specializes in deep borehole disposal of nuclear waste. We work with government waste management organizations to design a directionally-drilled borehole disposal solution that meets strict safety standards alongside local community preferences. We tailor our patented solution to the specific waste form, available geology options and local regulatory requirements of each client, with implementation through our partnerships with industry leaders as well as flexible IP licensing options.  Projects include advanced reactor and SMR waste disposal, stand-alone borehole disposal of small existing nuclear waste inventories, and working alongside mined repository programs to increase safety and reduce costs by moving certain waste streams into boreholes.

Press Contact
Deep Isolation EMEA Limited
1 Northumberland Avenue
London WC2N 5BW