London — Deep Isolation announced today it will team up with Fermi Energia to further explore a deep borehole repository disposal solution for a proposed small modular reactor design that developers hope will help Estonia in its efforts to achieve net zero emissions.
Deep Isolation will work with Fermi Energia to analyze the costs and benefits of open or closed fuel cycle options deploying deep borehole repositories for direct disposal of spent nuclear fuel or vitrified waste produced from reprocessing that spent fuel.
Fermi Energia, an emerging company of nuclear and energy professionals founded to deploy SMRs in Estonia, first partnered with Deep Isolation in 2021 on a preliminary study that concluded that the majority of Estonia’s underground geology provides access to suitable rock formations that could safely isolate spent nuclear fuel in a horizontal borehole repository a kilometer underground. In this new study, Deep Isolation will evaluate the costs of doing this in two scenarios: Through direct disposal of the spent fuel in its standard disposal canisters; and through disposal of the larger diameter vitrified waste form that would be produced if Estonia were to decide to reprocess its spent fuel.
“New nuclear energy investments in the European Union will be officially considered sustainable, under the recently adopted EU Taxonomy of Sustainable Finance, if they have in place by 2050 a nationally documented plan for an operational, final repository of spent fuel,” said Kalev Kallamets, CEO of Fermi Energia. “In our view, only the Deep Isolation solution can meet that criterion for new small modular reactor deployments in the EU, and that is why Deep Isolation is our go-to spent fuel repository solution.”
Deep Isolation’s borehole technology has attracted considerable interest among countries in Europe and the Pacific. The company recently announced a partnership with Amentum, a premier global technical and engineering services provider with expertise in nuclear waste management, that sets the stage for global delivery capabilities and a near-term pipeline for deep geological waste disposal valued at $30 billion in Asia and the Pacific.
A study published by Norwegian Nuclear Decommissioning (NND) in December concluded that borehole disposal is feasible and may be a cost-effective solution for the heat generating high-level nuclear waste (including spent nuclear fuel and vitrified waste canisters) that are being temporarily stored by five ERDO countries.
After just four years as a public-facing company, Deep Isolation’s milestones include: contracts with a dozen countries across three continents, 18 patents and 90 notices of invention; a subsidiary in Europe; the acquisition of Freestone Environmental Services in the U.S.; and recently, four multi-million awards from the U.S. Department of Energy.
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.
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Deep Isolation assesses the potential of its horizontal borehole disposal solution for Estonia’s proposed small modular reactor.