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.
Kari Hulac — Deep Isolation
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