By Dan Yurman
Fall 2019 was a banner period for five developers of small modular reactors. Here is a roundup of their announcements as well as some information about their plans for the future.
OKLO Announces 1.5 MWe Mini-Reactor
After working under wraps for several years, Oklo announced in December an advanced nuclear reactor that runs on a single fuel load for decades. Calling it the “Aurora Advanced Fission Clean Energy Plant,” the firm says the power plant would be integrated with solar panels to provide communities with 24×7, 365 days/year reliable electrical power.
The reactor is designed to produce about 1.5 MW of electric power, while also having the ability to produce usable process heat for residential or commercial applications. The plant uses metal uranium fuel to produce heat, an advanced fuel type which is well-demonstrated with decades of experimental data. Heat pipes carry the heat to a heat exchanger, and a power conversion cycle converts the heat into electricity.
Oklo Announces Site Permit at Idaho National Laboratory
Oklo Inc. announced in December that the firm Oklo has received a Site Use Permit from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to build its Aurora plant at Idaho National Laboratory (INL).
The site use permit is an important step toward commercializing advanced fission technologies, and it is the first issued for a non-light water nuclear power reactor. The site use permit is in effect for the lifetime of the plant.
The site use permit makes a site available to Oklo to build its Aurora plant, which utilizes a compact fast reactor to generate about 1.5 MW of electric power. This site is anticipated to be the location of the first-of-a-kind deployment of the Aurora plant.
Oklo is a small company based in Sunnyvale, CA, developing clean-energy plants using advanced fission. Oklo has been engaged in pre-application activities with the
By Dan Yurman