Advanced Facility Design and AI/ML Enabled Safeguards to Establish Secure, Economical Recycling of Fast Reactor Fuels

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OPEN 2021
Lemont, Illinois
Project Term:
06/22/2022 - 06/21/2025

Critical Need:

The widespread deployment of new reactors will require a supply chain to create sufficient quantities of higher-performing uranium/transuranic (U/TRU) fuel. The source of the nuclear materials for the U/TRU alloys could be used light water reactor fuel or used fuel from advanced reactors (ARs). The used fuel feedstock must be reprocessed into compositions and forms suitable for reuse as fuel. When reprocessing is leveraged in this way, fuel costs and waste can be substantially decreased compared to once-through fuel cycles while enabling a safe, sustainable, and economical domestic fuel supply chain.

Project Innovation + Advantages:

Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) and Oklo will develop crucial technologies in researching pyroprocessing for advanced fast reactor fuels. Pyroprocessing involves the use of high-temperature molten salts to enable the recycling and reuse of valuable nuclear materials from used fuel. Recycling improves the utilization of nuclear resources, generates less nuclear waste, and reduces the cost of fuel. The ANL team will develop a system to improve the safeguarding, security, and operations of future fuel reprocessing plants to support this outcome. The system comprises new advanced multimodal sensors that leverage machine learning-enabled algorithms to improve measurements and allow for the detection and diagnosis of off-normal events. The team will also create a digital twin for the reprocessing facility and perform studies to determine the minimal sensor set required to meet regulations for accountancy and control of the nuclear materials as part of this effort.

Potential Impact:

If successful, this project will enhance fission power prospects by lowering the cost and improving the utilization of nuclear fuel.


The proposed technologies will enhance the research viability of reprocessing by improving the safeguarding, security, and operations of pyroprocessing facilities.


Once operational, the AR fleet will disrupt the existing energy landscape and provide carbon-free electricity at prices far lower than traditional nuclear plants.


The pyrochemical fuel reprocessing could create an economical domestic fuel supply chain for the planned suite of ARs.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Robert Ledoux
Project Contact:
Nathaniel Hoyt
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:


Oklo, Inc.

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