Self-powered Wireless Hybrid Density/Level Sensing with Differential Pressure Sensors for Safeguarding and Monitoring of Electrochemical Processing of Nuclear Spent Fuel

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Denton, Texas
Project Term:
01/16/2023 - 03/06/2026

Technology Description:

The University of North Texas (UNT), University of Michigan, Northeastern University, General Electric Research Center, and Idaho National Laboratory are researching a novel self-powered wireless differential pressure sensor for long-term, in situ, real-time monitoring of high-temperature (600 ºC) molten salt density and level for safeguarding and monitoring electrochemical processing of nuclear spent fuel. The team will use micro-electromechanical systems technology to fabricate the pressure sensor which enables measurements of great sensitivity, accuracy and high repeatability. To provide unlimited power for the sensor and wireless transceiver, a thermoelectric generator will be directly printed on the electrorefiner housing using laser additive manufacturing to scavenge the waste heat energy. The elimination of the long wires will result in significant cost savings, low maintenance, and much longer service life. This sensing technology will improve materials accountancy and associated verification activities that are key to safeguards implementation.

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. Haifeng Zhang
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:


Idaho National Laboratory

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