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EPRI Receives DOE Award to Research Uranium Recovery Options for the Next Generation of Reactors

EPRI, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Southern Company Research and Development, and Deep Isolation announced today they have been awarded $2.8 million from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for a joint nuclear research and development project. The project is focused on nuclear fuel management options to help power advanced nuclear energy systems, which could play an important role in meeting national decarbonization goals.

EPRI will lead the team receiving funding from DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). Specifically, the two-year project aims to expand the available options of nuclear fuel management by creating a tool for optimizing the integration of processes for recovery of uranium from used nuclear fuel and performing an at-scale scoping study for market readiness of some of these techniques.

Each of the participating organizations brings their unique specific technical perspective to the project. EPRI is providing project management and expertise in advanced reactor development, ORNL is providing technical expertise in nuclear fuel cycles and system modeling for developing the tool, Southern Company is providing real-world data and their experience in shepherding new technology from the laboratory to full-scale commercial deployment, and Deep Isolation is providing technical expertise in the disposal of used fuel in deep borehole repositories approximately a mile underground.

“Recovering uranium from used nuclear fuel so that it can be used in the next generation of reactors helps to ensure the success of carbon-free generation,” said Neil Wilmshurst, EPRI senior vice president  of Energy System Resources and Chief Nuclear Officer. “That next generation of carbon-free generation could help the nation achieve its decarbonization goals. EPRI is proud to be conducting research with this team in this area.”

The joint endeavor aligns closely with ORNL’s capabilities, said Andy Worrall, section head of Integrated Fuel Cycle research at the laboratory. “This project is at the heart of two of our focus areas at ORNL -- advancing the next generation of nuclear technology to meet the nation's energy needs and climate goals while reducing the demand on waste generation storage and ultimate disposal.”

“We appreciate this opportunity to demonstrate how our technology can contribute to a variety of innovative efforts to increase the efficiency and sustainability of nuclear power in the marketplace,” said Deep Isolation Chief Operating Officer Rod Baltzer.

Laura Thompson
Communications Manager



About EPRI
Founded in 1972, EPRI is the world's preeminent independent, non-profit energy research and development organization, with offices around the world. EPRI's trusted experts collaborate with more than 450 companies in 45 countries, driving innovation to ensure the public has clean, safe, reliable, affordable, and equitable access to electricity across the globe. Together, we are shaping the future of energy.

About ORNL

Oak Ridge National Laboratory delivers scientific discoveries and technical breakthroughs to accelerate the development and deployment of solutions in clean energy and global security, and in doing so create economic opportunity for the nation. ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle for DOE’s Office of Science.

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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