Deep Borehole Demonstration Center Announced with Launch Executive Director Ted Garrish

Berkeley, Calif. — A new Deep Borehole Demonstration Center will be publicly launched Feb. 27 at the Waste Management Symposia in Phoenix, Ariz. It was founded as a new nonprofit organization and is open to participation from governments, utilities, nuclear operators and research organizations interested in studying nuclear waste disposal technologies for worldwide deployment.

Deep Borehole Demonstration Center

The nonprofit’s Board of Directors includes Deep Isolation and inaugural members from the National Radiation Protection Institute in the Czech Republic, U.S.-based utility Southern Company and Deep Isolation’s CEO. The Board has appointed Ted Garrish, former Assistant Secretary for International Affairs at the U.S. Department of Energy, to serve as Launch Executive Director.

“This is the beginning of being able to offer countries a new option: a deep borehole repository,” Garrish said. “This gives countries an alternative, and in some cases, boreholes could also work alongside mined repositories for particular waste streams, such as from advanced reactors. The Deep Borehole Demonstration Center will allow multinational and cross-organizational collaborations to begin the work of characterizing the entire system. This is how we get to the next stage.”

The impetus for the Center was an international survey of waste management organization stakeholders published by Deep Isolation and the University of Sheffield in March 2022. Four-out-of-five stakeholders surveyed for the report said they want more international collaboration to advance deep borehole disposal and agreed overwhelmingly that the key next step is a demonstration of the end-to-end technology.

“Our customers and prospective customers have been asking for something exactly like this — a facility designed to advance the development of the deep borehole repository concept so they can feel confident that, as they commission new nuclear power plants to meet net zero goals, they will be able to simultaneously plan for a flexible, affordable waste disposal solution,” said Deep Isolation CEO Liz Muller, chair of the Center’s board.

Using a membership-funded model, the Center will draw on international participation to demonstrate the viability of deep borehole technology and to develop improved guidance and international consensus around how regulators can best assess the safety case for deep borehole disposal.

The Center’s mission is to advance the maturity of the safety case for deep borehole disposal and the technical readiness levels of the disposal concept, including characterization, construction, canister handling, emplacement and retrieval.

The Center’s board also includes Jitka Mikšová, Head of the RWM Division at the National Radiation Protection Institute (SÚRO), Czech Republic, and Dr. Richard Esposito, R&D Program Manager for Geosciences & Carbon Management at Southern Company. The Board is also establishing an independent science-driven Advisory Committee to assist in ensuring transparency and scrutiny of the Center’s work.

Dr. Esposito of Southern Company said: “Deep borehole disposal brings an important new option to the table for geologic disposal of nuclear waste. We look forward to working with public and private sector partners worldwide to both evaluate and demonstrate the viability of the technology through the new Deep Borehole Demonstration Center.”

Mikšová of SÚRO said deep borehole disposal is especially of interest to countries with small waste inventories where a conventional mined geological repository is not economically efficient.

“The Center foundation is creating the right platform for the necessary demonstration of the feasibility of this disposal option, and one through which international teams can contribute to improving the borehole disposal technology with respect to the environment and further adapting it to country-specific conditions and building public confidence,” she said. “On behalf of the Czech partners I am representing, we are looking forward to engaging in the Deep Borehole Demonstration Center work.”

Further details of the government and industry organizations that are backing this work will be announced at Waste Management 2023. In the meantime, interested parties who would like to become members are welcome to contact the Center’s Launch Executive Director.

Garrish said, “The Center is ultimately about answering the age-old question, ‘What about the waste?’ which is inevitably posed by governments considering the merits of nuclear power. This is the question that we’ve got to answer. And that is what the Center was created to do.”


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.

Press Contact

Kari Hulac

PALO ALTO, Calif. (Nov. 17, 2022) – – EPRI, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Southern Company Research and Development, and Deep Isolation announced today they have been awarded $2.8 million from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for a joint nuclear research and development project. The project is focused on nuclear fuel management options to help power advanced nuclear energy systems, which could play an important role in meeting national decarbonization goals.

EPRI will lead the team receiving funding from DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). Specifically, the two-year project aims to expand the available options of nuclear fuel management by creating a tool for optimizing the integration of processes for recovery of uranium from used nuclear fuel and performing an at-scale scoping study for market readiness of some of these techniques.

Each of the participating organizations brings their unique specific technical perspective to the project. EPRI is providing project management and expertise in advanced reactor development, ORNL is providing technical expertise in nuclear fuel cycles and system modeling for developing the tool, Southern Company is providing real-world data and their experience in shepherding new technology from the laboratory to full-scale commercial deployment, and Deep Isolation is providing technical expertise in the disposal of used fuel in deep borehole repositories approximately a mile underground.

“Recovering uranium from used nuclear fuel so that it can be used in the next generation of reactors helps to ensure the success of carbon-free generation,” said Neil Wilmshurst, EPRI senior vice president  of Energy System Resources and Chief Nuclear Officer. “That next generation of carbon-free generation could help the nation achieve its decarbonization goals. EPRI is proud to be conducting research with this team in this area.”

The joint endeavor aligns closely with ORNL’s capabilities, said Andy Worrall, section head of Integrated Fuel Cycle research at the laboratory. “This project is at the heart of two of our focus areas at ORNL — advancing the next generation of nuclear technology to meet the nation’s energy needs and climate goals while reducing the demand on waste generation storage and ultimate disposal.”

“We appreciate this opportunity to demonstrate how our technology can contribute to a variety of innovative efforts to increase the efficiency and sustainability of nuclear power in the marketplace,” said Deep Isolation Chief Operating Officer Rod Baltzer.

Laura Thompson
Communications Manager


About EPRI
Founded in 1972, EPRI is the world’s preeminent independent, non-profit energy research and development organization, with offices around the world. EPRI’s trusted experts collaborate with more than 450 companies in 45 countries, driving innovation to ensure the public has clean, safe, reliable, affordable, and equitable access to electricity across the globe. Together, we are shaping the future of energy.

About ORNL

Oak Ridge National Laboratory delivers scientific discoveries and technical breakthroughs to accelerate the development and deployment of solutions in clean energy and global security, and in doing so create economic opportunity for the nation. ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle for DOE’s Office of Science.

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.

BERKELEY — Deep Isolation announced today that it is part of a team that has been selected to receive $4.9 million in funding as part of the U.S. Department of Energy ARPA-E CURIE program to develop and demonstrate oxide reduction (OR) technology for pyrochemical recycling of light water reactor used nuclear fuel (UNF).

The team, led by Argonne National Laboratory, also includes advanced reactor developer Oklo Inc., and Case Western Reserve University. CURIE, short for Converting UNF Radioisotopes Into Energy, funds innovations in reprocessing technologies that aim to extract and recycle valuable actinides from used nuclear fuel that can then be used to power the next generation of nuclear reactors.

Deep Isolation will develop an integrated waste disposal plan using its cost-effective deep borehole repository technology for oxide reduction waste, while simultaneously determining ideal waste acceptance parameters through economic modeling to achieve program target metrics for reduced disposal costs as there will still be some volume of waste at the end of the OR process.

“Performing the technical and economic analyses of the waste streams alongside the OR process development is important as it will ensure that a disposal pathway for the remaining waste exists before the technology is fully commercialized,” said Deep Isolation Head of Engineering and Project Lead Jesse Sloane. “These combined efforts will increase the technical readiness level of the recycling process and help make the case for the economics of spent fuel reprocessing by considering complete operational costs from the raw fuel material through disposal.”

The project also includes a study to optimize the procurement of spent nuclear fuel for recycling into an advanced reactor.

Also today: Deep Isolation is part of another selected CURIE project: It is participating in a $2.8 million project led by EPRI that will develop an advanced reactor fuel cycle enterprise.

These selections bring the number of Deep Isolation federal projects this year to four. The company received a $3.6 million grant to develop a universal nuclear waste disposal canister for advanced reactor waste streams and received part of a $4 million grant to Oklo and other partners to study borehole disposal options for the first nuclear fuel recycling and disposal facility in the United States.

Collectively, these projects will help expand applications of Deep Isolation’s technologies across a wider range of current and future fuel cycle options.

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.

Press Contacts

Kari Hulac — Deep Isolation

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

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