Orano USA announced on 15 March that Orano Federal Services (FS) has been selected to receive $2.2 million in project funding from the US Department of Energy Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). The funding is part of the ARPA-E Optimising Nuclear Waste and Advanced Reactor Disposal Systems (ONWARDS) programme, which seeks to increase the deployment, and use of, nuclear power as a reliable source of clean energy and limit the amount of waste produced from Advanced Nuclear Reactors (AR).
Orano will develop a modular “plug and play” off-gas treatment unit tailored to the off-gases created when processing used nuclear fuel from different AR types, including metal fuel, TRISO fuel, and molten salt reactors’ liquid fuel. The treatment will be optimised to both efficiently capture regulated radioactive and non-radioactive off-gases, and to use treatment processes that themselves will only generate low-level waste suitable for either disposal or decay storage.
“Advanced reactors will require advanced processes for preparing their used nuclear fuel to be reused,” said Dr Dorothy Davidson, Orano FS president. “We appreciate this opportunity to apply Orano’s decades of experience in used fuel reprocessing to this important work with ONWARDS in support of the next generation of advanced reactors.”
In this project, the industrial know-how of Orano and its principal investigator Dr Sven Bader are combined with the state-of-the-art research and development performed by Oak Ridge National Lab (ORNL) and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in off-gas treatment to design effective, efficient, and optimized off-gas treatment units required by regulation for AR used nuclear fuel treatment facilities.
Orano USA is a regional subsidiary of Orano and supplier of nuclear fuel materials, used fuel management, decommissioning, decontamination, radwaste treatment solutions, and advanced reactor services to US commercial and federal customers.