Improved Volatile and Semi-volatile Radionuclide Off-Gas Management

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Melbourne, Florida
Project Term:
01/16/2023 - 01/15/2025

Technology Description:

Mainstream Engineering will research a series of vacuum swing separation unit operations to separate and capture volatile radionuclides from the off-gassing of UNF aqueous reprocessing facility operations. Off-gas management and disposal accounts for roughly 13% of aqueous reprocessing systems’ capital costs and at least 10% of their operating costs for product/waste containers and utilities. The vacuum swing adsorption units researched in this project will contain targeted, specific adsorbents for the removal and concentration of radionuclides to maximize the overall process efficiency, decrease the life cycle capital and operating costs for off-gas management and disposal, and minimize waste that must be stored. These compact units could potentially reduce the amount of shielded area required, simplify off-gas logistics, and reduce energy needs while they ensure the capture of more than 99.9% of volatile radionuclides.

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. Philip Cox
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:


Idaho National Laboratory

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