Oklo Readying to Deploy Commercial-Scale Nuclear Fuel Recycling Facility

POWER Magazine — 1/25/23

Oklo has kicked off regulatory activities for a first‐of‐its‐kind nuclear fuel recycling facility that could produce commercial material from used light water reactor (LWR) fuel before the decade’s end.

The advanced nuclear technology firm in December submitted a licensing project plan (LPP) to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for its Fuel Recycling Technologies facility. The LPP essentially outlines the company’s plans for “preapplication engagement activities that support the future licensing of a first‐of‐a‐kind fuel recycling facility,” the company said on Jan. 25.

While Oklo did not publicly disclose where it plans to site the commercial pilot fuel facility and how much commercial material it could produce on a pilot scale, the company told POWER on Jan. 26 that the privately funded commercial-scale fuel recycling facility will produce a mixture of fissionable uranium and transuranic element isotopes. Oklo will use these materials to manufacture fuel for its fast reactors.

“Oklo will use an electrorefining‐based technology to recycle used nuclear fuel,” it said. “A critical way this process differs from the legacy reprocessing methods is that electrorefining keeps the major and minor actinide elements combined. For this reason, many refer to the electrorefining process as inherently ‘proliferation‐resistant.’”

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