Oklo wins access to used fuel for Aurora SMR

20 February 2020

Idaho National Laboratory (INL) is to provide Oklo Inc with access to recovered material from used nuclear fuel to develop and demonstrate the Oklo Aurora - a micro-reactor that can be used in remote or off-grid locations to generate power. Jacob DeWitte, Oklo co-founder and CEO, said the award paves the way for an important demonstration of the first 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".

The Aurora plant is powered by a small reactor with integrated solar panels (Image: Oklo)

The California-based company applied for access to the material through a competitive process INL launched last year to accelerate deployment of commercially viable micro-reactors by providing developers with access to material needed to produce fuel for them. Last month, Oklo announced it had received a site use permit from the US Department of Energy to build and demonstrate the Aurora technology at INL.

John Wagner, associate laboratory director for INL's nuclear science and technology directorate, said INL is "committed to working with private companies and others to develop the technologies that will provide clean energy to the world". Ashley Finan, director of the National Reactor Innovation Center (NRIC), added that building and operating advanced reactors is "essential to restoring US leadership in nuclear energy".

Led by INL, NRIC was established in August 2019 to provide access to resources to accelerate the demonstration of advanced nuclear technology concepts.

Oklo says the 1.5-megawatt Aurora reactor will avoid the emission of one million tonnes of carbon dioxide during its operation that would otherwise have been produced by diesel generator alternatives.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News