Research & Development

Advanced Reactors / Oklo Plans Two Commercial Nuclear Plants In Southern Ohio

By David Dalton
19 May 2023

California-based company ‘accelerating deployment plans’ for Aurora design

Oklo Plans Two Commercial Nuclear Plants In Southern Ohio
Oklo said it is accelerating its commercialisation plans for the Aurora nuclear power plant. Courtesy Oklo.

US-based advanced nuclear power plant developer Oklo has announced sites for two commercial units in Southern Ohio.

Oklo said it has signed an agreement with the Southern Ohio Diversification Initiative (SODI) to deploy Oklo power plants that will provide up to 30 MW of clean electric power and over 50 MW of clean heating, with opportunities to expand.

SODI is one of the leading partners in a project to evaluate the reuse of an existing nuclear facility undergoing decommissioning for siting and construction of an advanced reactor.

The project has been using the former US Department of Energy (DOE) Portsmouth gaseous diffusion plant in Piketon, Ohio, as a case study.

Other members of the project, which is funded by the DOE, include Orano Federal Services, Southern Nuclear Company, the Electrical Power Research Institute and the Idaho National Laboratory (INL).

Jacob DeWitte, Oklo co-founder and chief executive officer, said California-based Oklo is accelerating its commercialisation plans with “sites for two more plants confirmed”. Oklo did not name the two sites.

In 2019 the company obtained a site use permit from the DOE to build a demonstration nuclear plant the INL site in Idaho.

Company Also Working On LWR Fuel Recycling

Earlier this year Oklo submitted a licensing project plan to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a recycling facility that would produce commercial material from used light-water reactor fuel.

Oklo won $17m (€15.7m) in DOE awards for technology development in support of commercialising production of advanced reactor fuel from used nuclear fuel.

In January 2022, the NRC denied Oklo’s combined licence application for a project to build and operate a plant at Idaho National Laboratory on the grounds that the company had failed to provide information on several key topics for the Aurora design. Oklo submitted its application in March 2022. In September 2022 Oklo restarted its licensing process for the project.

Oklo’s Aurora nuclear plant design, which consists of a small fission reactor with integrated solar panels, would use heat pipes to transport heat from the reactor core to a power conversion system.

According to Oklo, the Aurora will generate both usable heat and electricity, run for at least 20 years on one load of fuel and operate without the need for water. The plant can recycle fuel and ultimately convert nuclear waste to clean energy.

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