Development of Robust Anode Materials for the Electrochemical Recovery of Actinide Elements from the Used Nuclear Fuel

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Idaho Falls, Idaho
Project Term:
04/03/2023 - 04/02/2026

Technology Description:

Idaho National Laboratory (INL) will design, fabricate, and test robust anode materials for recovering actinide elements from used LWR fuels through a molten salt electrochemical process. Current anode materials, which are typically fabricated from either platinum or graphite, are expensive, degrade rapidly, contaminate the reduced actinide product, and generate greenhouse gases when used to manufacture metallic products. The proposed anode materials consist of monolithic ruthenium metal, alloys of ruthenium and iridium (with transition metals), and ruthenium- and iridium-coated electrodes. The alloy anodes will be fabricated by electric field-assisted sintering/spark plasma sintering, and the coated anodes will be fabricated by cold spray and molten salt electroplating techniques. This project will identify new and cost-effective anode materials for not only recovering actinide elements from used oxide nuclear fuels without isolating pure plutonium but also for converting metal oxides to metals and alloys.

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:
Dr. Prabhat Tripathy
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:


University of Nevada: Reno

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