Oklo is designing an advanced form of nuclear power generator called a fast reactor which is expected to be more efficient than traditional nuclear, allowing it to get energy out of already “spent” fissile fuel, which we now consider “waste.”
Fast reactors are also more efficient with the fuel they do use and, by using “fast” neutrons, they are able to use the waste from conventional nuclear reactors making them many times more efficient, because they can unlock the 95% of fissile energy that remains in the fuel after a traditional reactor can no longer use it.
While fast reactor technology has been around since the 1950s, there are only about 20 fast neutron reactors operating, with Russia the current leading developer of fast reactor technology. Oklo is looking to change that and make building and operating a fast reactor much more cost-effective. Back in February of 2020, the Idaho National Laboratory announced it was going to give Oklo access to nuclear waste so it can develop and demonstrate its fast reactor technology, it means that this material, which was previously destined for disposal, will be used to produce energy.”
While this article by CNBC mostly reports on information that was older news, it does include the recent announcement by the DOE that Oklo was awarded a cost-share grant to work with the INL to commercialize electrorefining technology for reprocessing used nuclear fuel—in order to recycle it for use in advanced reactors. Additionally, the reporting by CNBC on Oklo and advanced nuclear in itself is also a type of news, as this may be the first time that CNBC has reported on advanced nuclear.
Read the article at CNBC “Oklo has a plan to make tiny nuclear reactors that run off nuclear waste,” by Catherine Clifford, published June 28, 2021.