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California-based Oklo has submitted its application for a mini-reactor to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). It is the first combined construction and operating licence application (COLA) to NRC for an advanced reactor.

Date: Friday, 20 March 2020
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California-based Oklo Inc has submitted a combined licence application (COLA) for its Aurora "powerhouse" to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). This is the first COLA to be submitted using a new application structure for advanced fission technologies and the first privately funded application for a commercial advanced reactor.

Date: Thursday, 19 March 2020
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Public perception of nuclear power "has been defined almost by its failures rather than by its successes", and the industry has thus adopted a defensive posture, Adi Paterson, CEO of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation told delegates at the International Youth Nuclear Congress on 9 March. The challenge now for the 250 IYNC attendees is: "How to change the narrative of nuclear in a deep and profound way," he said.

Date: Wednesday, 11 March 2020
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The US Department of Defense (DoD) is seeking public comment on a proposal to construct and demonstrate a prototype advanced mobile nuclear microreactor to support its domestic and operational energy demands. This is expected to be a small advanced gas reactor using high-assay low enriched uranium tristructural isotropic (TRISO) fuel and air cooling.

Date: Wednesday, 04 March 2020
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The US Idaho National Laboratory will provide California-based Oklo with access to recovered used nuclear fuel to aid the company in its efforts to develop and demonstrate the Oklo Aurora microreactor.

Date: Tuesday, 25 February 2020
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The Advanced Test Reactor at Idaho National Lab. Image courtesy INL. The US Department of Energy (DOE) and the state of Idaho should reach a new agreement on nuclear waste and spent nuclear fuel to allow the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) to continue its research activities beyond 2035, according to the facility’s director Mark Peters.

Mr Peters told the state House’s environment, energy and technology committee that an agreement signed in 1995 and presently in force, requiring all nuclear waste and spent fuel to be out of Idaho by 2035, could jeopardise the operation of the INL in the future.

According to the Associated Press, Mr Peters told lawmakers that a “conversation” on the issue will be needed over the next five years at the latest.

Date: Tuesday, 11 February 2020
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GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) and TerraPower are to collaborate on pursuing a public private partnership to design and construct the Versatile Test Reactor (VTR) for the US Department of Energy (DOE). Utility Energy Northwest will support the joint GEH-TerraPower effort, with other parties said to be interested in joining.

Date: Thursday, 23 January 2020
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The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has completed the fourth phase of its review of the design certification application for NuScale's small modular reactor (SMR). With two final phases remaining, this marks the near-completion of the technical aspects of the review.

Date: Saturday, 14 December 2019
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The US Department of Energy has granted a site use permit to California-based compact fast reactor developer Oklo to build a demonstration Aurora energy plant – comprising a small reactor with integrated solar panels – on the Idaho National Laboratory site.

Oklo said the permit is an important step towards commercialising advanced fission technologies and is the first issued for a non-light water reactor.

The permit is a critical milestone on the path towards deployment of Oklo’s 1.5-MW Aurora plant, which company co-founders Jacob DeWitte and Caroline Cochran unveiled last month.

“The system itself is designed to build on the really tremendous legacy of metallic fuels that were developed in this country for decades,” Mr DeWitte said at the event.

Date: Friday, 13 December 2019
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Individual TRISO fuel particles at 100um scale. Image courtesy Idaho National Laboratory. US-based companies Global Nuclear Fuel (GNF) and X-energy have agreed to cooperate on the production of Triso nuclear fuel to potentially supply the US Department of Defense for micro-reactors and NASA for its nuclear thermal propulsion needs.

GNF said in a statement that the two companies will work on the development of high-assay low-enriched uranium (Haleu) Triso fuel, combining X-energy’s commercial-scale Triso production equipment and GNF’s fuel fabrication facility in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Triso, a shortened form of the term tristructural-isotropic, refers to a specific design of uranium nuclear reactor fuel. Tristructural refers to the layers of coatings surrounding the uranium fuel, and isotropic refers to the kernel being the same size in each direction since it takes the shape of a sphere.

Date: Thursday, 07 November 2019
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