Enabling the Near Term Commercialization of an Electrorefining Facility to Close the Metal Fuel Cycle

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Santa Clara, California
Project Term:
07/15/2022 - 10/14/2025

Technology Description:

Oklo aims to commercialize a state-of-the-art nuclear fuel recycling facility within the next few years. The facility would produce fuel for Oklo’s metal-fueled fast reactors, closing the advanced reactor fuel cycle and changing the economic paradigm for advanced fission with a commercial-scale fuel recycling facility. This project will optimize the four-unit operations currently required for producing uranium (U) and U/transuranic (TRU) fuel materials in an electrorefining facility: (1) electrorefining to recover U and U/TRU alloys, (2) salt/metal product separation, (3) lanthanide waste drawdown, and (4) active metal waste removal by fractional crystallization. Next-generation processes designed to enable remote operation will optimize operations. Concurrent with the technology development, Oklo’s project will also focus on establishing the licensing basis for the facility and developing the final waste disposal solution. This technology is expected to reduce waste by more than an order of magnitude compared with a no-reprocessing baseline.

Potential Impact:

By identifying and addressing challenges at the back end of the fuel cycle before the deployment of future AR technologies, ONWARDS will:


Support the growth of advanced nuclear energy with safe and sustainable domestic fuel stocks.


Play a vital role in significantly reducing GHG emissions, proactively mitigate the disposal impact of AR UNF with integrated non-proliferation safeguards, and provide transformative solutions to improve the management and disposal of radioactive waste and UNF.


Complement ARPA-E’s existing nuclear energy research portfolio, such as the MEITNER and GEMINA programs in AR R&D, further ensuring the commercial viability of innovative new ARs.


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


Deep Isolation US LLC
Argonne National Laboratory
Idaho National Laboratory

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