ADVANCE Momentum for Nuclear Waste?

Axios, June 20, 2024

ADVANCE Momentum for Nuclear Waste?

By Chuck McCutcheon

A company that’s developed a novel new nuclear waste disposal technology hopes Congress’ overwhelming support for the ADVANCE Act will lend its efforts some political momentum.

Why it matters: As nuclear energy gains in political and public acceptance, many observers say the issue of how to dispose of waste over the longer term deserves far more attention.

Driving the news: Deep Isolation Inc. CEO Rod Baltzer spent this week in D.C. meeting with Energy Department officials and others to explain its nuclear waste disposal system.

  • “Seeing the ADVANCE Act pass the Senate 88-2 … that’s phenomenal,” said Baltzer, who formerly headed Texas’ Waste Control Specialists.

How it works: Deep Isolation wants to use directional drilling technology, popular in the oil and gas industry, to dig long, narrow holes thousands of feet underground into which canisters of waste can be emplaced.

  • The concept has both supporters and skeptics.
  • Communities could use the technology to bury materials where they’re generated, such as near advanced reactors, Baltzer said.
  • “They can know going into it, ‘OK, I’m going to get this power. I’m going to get these property taxes, these jobs, these other benefits. I’m also going to dispose of the waste here,” he said. “And so you’ve got the full life cycle, but you can just dispose of your waste, not the nation’s waste.”

What’s next: In the U.S., Baltzer sees deep isolation as a complement to — not a replacement for — a geologic repository as dictated by the 1982 Nuclear Waste Policy Act. But first, laws and regulations need to “catch up.”

  • “I think there’s some progress toward that. We’re definitely having conversations where we can and as we can as a small business.”

Subscribe to Receive Our Newsletter


For more information about our solution, please contact us. 415 915 6506

Deep Isolation, Inc.
2120 University Avenue, Ste. 623
Berkeley, CA 94704