Closing the Cycle with NuCycle™

Default ARPA-E Project Image

Washington, District Of Columbia
Project Term:
03/07/2023 - 03/06/2026

Technology Description:

CurioTM will research the advanced head-end processing and fluorination steps of its UNF recycling process, NuCycleTM, at the laboratory scale to derisk the NuCycle process. NuCycle is a modular, integrated, compact, and proliferation-hardened process designed to avoid production of pure plutonium (Pu) streams and dramatically reduce waste volumes compared with existing processes. NuCycle significantly reduces facility footprints, leverages well-understood chemical processes, and accommodates a variety of fuel types, including molten salts and nitride fuels. The advanced head-end processing and fluorination steps will produce UF6 that is suitable for re-enrichment while keeping plutonium with the remaining actinides and fission products for further processing. Using safeguards-by-design principles, Curio will also design a material control and accountability system for the NuCycle facility that will enable <1% uncertainty in actinide accounting.

Potential Impact:

By enabling the secure and economical recycling of the nation’s inventory of LWR UNF, CURIE will have the following impacts:


Support the deployment of advanced reactor (AR) technologies by providing safe and sustainable domestic fuel stocks. Improvements in monitoring capabilities could enable more precise controls of various reprocessing stages while ensuring increased security of materials of concern.


Substantially reduce the disposal impact of the nation’s inventory of LWR UNF, decrease uranium mining requirements, and support a comprehensive national strategy to store radioactive waste safely and securely.


Complement ARPA-E’s existing nuclear energy research portfolio, further ensuring the commercial viability of innovative new ARs, and enable an additional revenue stream via valuable radionuclides recovered from UNF for diverse applications.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Jenifer Shafer
Project Contact:
Mr. Vikram Singh
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:


Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Idaho National Laboratory
Sandia National Laboratory

Related Projects

Release Date: