Deep Isolation wins new contract to prepare cost estimates for deep borehole disposal of Krško spent fuel

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.”

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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

media@deepisolation.com
Deep Isolation EMEA Limited
1 Northumberland Avenue
London WC2N 5BW
UK
www.deepisolation.com

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In spite of its hydro and wind power (not to mention fossil fuel) resources, Norway is in the process of considering small nuclear reactors (SMR) for some applications. Far flung population and industrial centers may make SMRs useful to, for example, towns in the far north (above the arctic circle) that rely on fossil fuel for power and/or for hydrogen production to provide a possible alternative to fossil fuels for shipping and heavy industry. Norway always hedges its bets for future energy resources as fossil fuel demand decreases and before the real costs and capacities for floating offshore wind and grid upgrades are better known. And, not least, Norway wants to continue and to enhance its role as a major supplier of energy to Europe and the U.K.

TEXAS/HALDEN — Today, the Deep Borehole Demonstration Center is pleased to announce the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to collaborate on demonstration of deep borehole disposal in Norway in addition to its work in Cameron, Texas.

The MOU signing marks a milestone in the Center’s journey. The memorandum is with Norsk Kjernekraft, a recently established Norwegian company with the goal of building and operating Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) in Norway, to provide clean and reliable power as Norway phases out fossil-fueled energy production leading up to net zero in 2050. 

The Center’s Executive Director, Ted Garrish (former Assistant Secretary for International Affairs at the U.S. Department of Energy) is encouraged by these developments, and says “It is an exciting development to collaborate with Norsk Kjernekraft to explore opportunities for demonstration of borehole disposal technology in Norway. At the technical level, Norway’s crystalline rock, including granite, is a very different geology to the Center’s initial shale environment in Texas – so it helps demonstrate the wide variety of rock types that offer safe and effective options for deep borehole disposal. Further, it demonstrates that Europe’s SMR industry is rightly focused on the need to engage with communities in planning for waste disposal right from the outset.”

Jonny Hesthammer, CEO of Norsk Kjernekraft, said: “Norsk Kjernekraft is passionate about the benefits that nuclear power will bring to Norway’s net-zero energy market – and to achieve these we must show the communities we work in that there are practical solutions available to put the resulting waste safely and permanently out of contact with the biosphere. Deep borehole disposal is a technology that offers huge potential benefits to Norway – for our communities, and for our world-leading drilling industry – so I am delighted to be working with the Deep Borehole Demonstration Center to demonstrate this technology here in Norway.”

The Center is an independent, nonprofit, science-driven organization – funded on a multinational, public-private-partnership basis – with the aim to advance the maturity of the safety case for deep borehole disposal and the technical readiness levels of the disposal concept. 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 membership from organizations representing waste disposal interests in nine countries, from both the public and private sectors. The Center has already started its multi-year program of work to cumulatively deliver an end-to-end, non-radioactive demonstration of deep borehole disposal. The initial tests at Cameron in February 2023 successfully demonstrated the compatibility of a PWR waste canister with standard lifting equipment for the oil and gas industry for use in deep borehole disposal operations.

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Learn more about the Deep Borehole Demonstration Center here.
Read the Deep Borehole Demonstration Center’s Strategic Plan.

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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

info@deepboreholedemo.org
havard.kristiansen@norskkjernekraft.com

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London — Deep Isolation EMEA Ltd. has published a study, commissioned by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), that provides an initial assessment of the role that the company’s directional borehole technology might play in supporting the UK Government’s strategic commitment to deep geological disposal of nuclear waste. The report can be found here

Key findings include:

  • Borehole disposal cannot replace the UK’s need for a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF), because it is not suited to the full diversity of the UK’s waste inventory.
  • However, the waste that is potentially compatible with deep borehole disposal includes all the UK’s heat-generating waste, accounting for 96% of forecast activity levels in 2200, assuming it can be appropriately packaged.
  • Cost estimates for the use of deep borehole technology vary across different geologies and between single-site and multi-site approaches.  Six scenarios for disposing all of the UK’s current and future forecast high-heat generating wastes vary in an initial estimate between £2.98 billion and £4.45 billion.

Nuclear Waste Services (NWS), the NDA business charged with developing and operating a Geologic Disposal Facility for the UK’s inventory of higher-activity radioactive waste has welcomed the study, which supports its mandate to review new and emerging technologies which could have the potential to improve the long-term management of the UK’s higher activity radioactive wastes.   

The study concludes that deep borehole disposal cannot replace the UK’s need for the GDF but may nevertheless have a helpful role to play in the disposal of some of the UK’s nuclear waste inventory, subject to further technical and business case development and assessment.  Deep Isolation’s recommendations to NDA include:

  • Undertaking more detailed business case work to assess the possible role for the technology as part of the NDA’s integrated waste management strategy
  • Engagement in international collaboration on demonstration of deep borehole technology.

“We are excited to have delivered this project for the UK’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority” said Elizabeth Muller, CEO of Deep Isolation.  “NDA is a global leader, and I welcome their commitment to exploring the benefit of new and innovative options for nuclear waste disposal.” 

Publication of this study follows announcement by the UK’s Department for Energy Security and Net Zero on February 8th 2023 that it is providing grant support to Deep Isolation EMEA Ltd to develop in the UK a corrosion-resistant canister capable of safely encapsulating spent fuel assemblies for disposal within deep borehole repositories 1 to 3 kilometers underground. Funding for this project comes from the Energy Entrepreneurs Fund, part of the Net Zero Innovation Portfolio.  The canister will be tested at the Deep Borehole Demonstration Center, a new nonprofit initiative being launched with multinational support from government and industry bodies.

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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 programmes to increase safety and reduce costs by moving certain waste streams into boreholes.

About NDA and NWS

NDA is charged, on behalf of government, with the mission to clean-up the UK’s earliest nuclear sites safely, securely and cost effectively – overcoming the challenges of nuclear clean-up and decommissioning to leave the 17 nuclear sites ready for their next use. NWS is the part of the NDA group responsible for Developing a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) for the permanent disposal of higher activity radioactive wastes. The NWS – GDF – Annual Report 2020-2021 estimates the total whole life cost of the GDF program to be in the region of £20-£53 billion.

About the Deep Borehole Demonstration Center

The nonprofit Deep Borehole Demonstration Center was established on 1 December 2022 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.  The Board of Directors and Executive Director were announced on 12 January 2023, and full public launch was held on 27 February 2023 at the Waste Management Symposia in Phoenix, Arizona.

Press Contact

media@deepisolation.com
Deep Isolation, Inc.
2001 Addison St., Suite 300
Berkeley, CA 94704 USA
www.deepisolation.com

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GeoDrilling International, March 6, 2023

Deep Borehole Demonstration Centre launches

The new Deep Borehole Demonstration Centre was officially launched at Waste Management Symposia 2023. The Centre, which is an independent, non-profit, science-driven organization – funded on a multinational, public-private-partnership basis, that aims to advance the maturity of the safety case for deep borehole disposal and the technical readiness levels of the disposal concept.

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