UPWARDS: Universal Performance Criteria and Canister for Advanced Reactor Waste Form Acceptance in Borehole and Mined Repositories Considering Design Safety

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Berkeley, California
Project Term:
07/15/2022 - 07/14/2025

Technology Description:

Deep Isolation will develop a universal canister design compatible with waste acceptance criteria for mined and borehole repositories to support cost-effective nuclear waste disposal options and provide flexibility for a broad range of advanced fuel forms and recycling products. The conventional nuclear fuel dry storage canisters in use today will likely require repackaging or reconfiguring before disposal. Deep Isolation’s new universal canister will create an elemental waste form component that will decouple the interdependent constraints between storage, transport, and disposal. The value proposition of this approach is to minimize the long-term costs of used fuel and waste management by packaging waste forms in small canisters that can be stored in dry storage systems (onsite or in a central location), transported to a geologic repository, and disposed without repackaging.

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:
Jesse Sloane
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:


NAC International Inc
University of California, Berkeley
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

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