BERKELEY – Deep Isolation, in partnership with the University of California, Berkeley, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and NAC International, has been awarded a $3.6 million grant by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) to develop a universal nuclear waste disposal canister for advanced reactor waste streams.
The project, one of two awarded today to Deep Isolation by the ARPA-E Optimizing Nuclear Waste and Advanced Reactor Disposal Systems program, will support the development of low-carbon advanced reactor power plants by establishing a universal canister design and waste form acceptance.
The canister will be designed to be compatible with the industry’s current dry storage and transportation infrastructure while meeting the thermal, volumetric, and criticality waste acceptance constraints across a spectrum of geologic repository options, including Deep Isolation’s deep borehole solution, to meet U.S. and international market needs.
“The fact that Deep Isolation is the recipient of two awards from ARPA-E affirms the importance of disposal innovations for advanced nuclear technologies,” said Deep Isolation Chief Operating Officer Rod Baltzer, who recently led an earlier project with company partner NAC International to develop a preliminary canister design. “The canister developed with NAC is specific for existing reactors. This new project allows us to design a canister for advanced reactors.”
In the U.S. the only approved nuclear waste disposal solution would be to build a network of large-diameter disposal tunnels. By designing a canister for high-level waste that could work in both a mined and a deep borehole repository (where 18-inch holes could be configured horizontally, vertically, or slanted), costs could be significantly reduced and safety procedures could be optimized.
Deep Isolation is also among the recipients of a $4 million DOE ARPA-E grant. It will join Oklo Inc. and the Argonne and Idaho national laboratories in co-locating a deep borehole repository with a commercialized fuel recycling facility.
The Oklo-led project is the first focused program 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 developer.
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.