Curio, Deep Isolation to Develop Nuclear Disposal Technology

Large nuclear plant in Belgium

(Credit: Unsplash)

by | Dec 13, 2023

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Curio and Deep Isolation will collaborate to share information for the use of Deep Isolation’s universal canister system (UCS) to safely dispose of high-level nuclear waste from Curio’s nuclear waste recycling process.

UCS is a technology used to securely store nuclear fuel and other nuclear waste after being used for power generation. In August 2023, Deep Isolation secured an award from the United States Department of Energy for testing and demonstration of their deep borehole disposal method, which includes geologic storage of nuclear waste. Meanwhile, Curio’s NuCycle nuclear fuel recycling process works to safely reduce HLW by as much as 96% in the process of reusing spent nuclear fuel. The company received $5 million last year from the DOE for development of its recycling process.

The companies also plan to explore how their recycling and disposal technologies may work together to develop methods for loading, storage, handling, and transportation of HLW canisters after being used in the NuCycle process.

“This collaboration signifies a pivotal moment in nuclear technology history where both advanced recycling and advanced geologic sequestration technology are progressing toward commercialization,” said Curio CEO Ed McGinnis. “By joining forces with Deep Isolation, we’re not just addressing a critical need for effective nuclear waste management; we’re spearheading an era of innovation and responsibility in the nuclear industry.”

Scaled-Up Waste Disposal Needed to Meet Increased Nuclear Development Plans

Nuclear energy is the second largest source of low-carbon energy in the world today, and it has regained attention in recent years as a key pathway to meeting global emissions reduction targets. Recently, at COP28, countries released a declaration to triple nuclear energy capacity by 2050 toward meeting net-zero goals.

Along with such increased nuclear energy development, projects are required to include plans for waste disposal after energy is generated. When compared to other energy sources, waste produced from nuclear power is relatively small, but since it contains radioactive properties, it must be managed and disposed of carefully. HLW, a byproduct of nuclear reactions used for energy production, specifically includes highly radioactive materials known to be hazardous to human health.

Curio and Deep Isolation plan to jointly work to commercialize their respective waste management systems, both of which may allow for efficient, secure, environmentally responsible HLW and other nuclear waste disposal.

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