BERKELEY – Deep Isolation, Oklo Inc., and the Argonne and Idaho national laboratories have been jointly awarded $4 million by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) to develop the first nuclear fuel recycling and disposal facility in the United States.
The project, one of two awarded to Deep Isolation today by the ARPA-E Optimizing Nuclear Waste and Advanced Reactor Disposal Systems (ONWARDS) program, will commercialize a fuel recycling facility that will include, for the non-recyclable waste, the development of a final waste solution compatible with a deep borehole repository. It’s the first focused program working to identify pathways to reduce waste material and minimize the need for disposal sites, and it’s the first federally funded program to explore pairing a commercial borehole solution with a recycling facility for an advanced reactor.
Deep Isolation will be analyzing the waste streams that would be generated by the electrorefining facility to identify waste forms suitable for a deep borehole repository. It will also establish the technical and cost savings framework for using deep borehole repositories as a complement to electrorefining.
“We are thrilled to have this opportunity to explore how Deep Isolation can help close the fuel cycle for Oklo’s advanced reactor designs,” said Deep Isolation CEO Liz Muller. “We are taking the responsible decision of planning for disposal as an integrated part of reactor development.”
Oklo and Argonne will focus on industrializing fuel recycling through advanced automation techniques and sensor technologies. “Oklo is proud to work with our project partners to demonstrate the core aspects of the end-to-end fuel recycling process and develop the technical basis for the commercial-scale recycling facility,” said Jacob DeWitte, co-founder and CEO of Oklo Inc. The labs are partners in the industrialization of key electrorefining facility processes.
Also announced today: Deep Isolation, in partnership with the University of California, Berkeley, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and NAC International, are the recipients of a $3.6 million ARPA-E ONWARDS grant to develop a universal nuclear waste disposal canister and waste form acceptance criteria for advanced reactor waste streams.
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.