Idaho National Laboratory today announced it will provide Oklo Inc. with access to recovered material from used nuclear fuel to aid the company in its efforts to develop and demonstrate the Oklo Aurora – a small advanced fission technology that can be used in remote or off-grid locations to generate power.
The California-based company applied for access to the material through a competitive process INL launched in 2019. Notifications of selection were made to applicants in December 2019. The goal is to accelerate deployment of commercially viable microreactors by providing developers with access to material needed to produce fuel for their reactors.
Oklo Aurora Powerhouse. Image Courtesy of Gensler.
“We are excited to work with Oklo Inc. and support their needs related to fuel development and microreactor demonstration,” said Dr. John Wagner, associate laboratory director for INL’s Nuclear Science & Technology directorate. “As the nation’s nuclear energy research laboratory, we are committed to working with private companies and others to develop the technologies that will provide clean energy to the world.”
Jacob DeWitte, Oklo co-founder and chief executive officer, said, “This award paves the way for an important demonstration of the first Oklo Aurora plant, as well as the ability of advanced reactors to convert used nuclear fuel, that would otherwise be treated for disposal, into clean energy.” Last month, Oklo announced it received a site use permit from the U.S. Department of Energy to build and demonstrate the Aurora technology at INL.
“Building and operating advanced reactors is essential to restoring U.S. leadership in nuclear energy,” said Dr. Ashley Finan, director of the National Reactor Innovation Center. Led by INL, NRIC was established in August 2019 to provide access to resources to accelerate the demonstration of advanced nuclear technology concepts. “The NRIC team is committed to empowering innovators to move their projects from concept to reality. We look forward to working with Oklo on the fuel supply for their first unit and congratulate them on achieving this milestone.”
Oklo Inc. (Oklo) is a California-based company developing clean energy plants to provide emission-free, reliable, and affordable energy using advanced fission. Oklo’s first product is the Aurora, which produces 1.5MW of electric power and can save 1,000,000 tons of carbon emissions during its operation over diesel generator alternatives. The Aurora has the capability to turn nuclear waste into clean energy and can produce clean energy for decades without needing to refuel.
Oklo received a Site Use Permit from the U.S Department of Energy, successfully demonstrated prototype of its metallic fuel, and is completing the first advanced fission license application.