Oklo Inc progressing towards licence application

20 September 2022

The California-based company has submitted a Licensing Project Plan (LPP) to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) outlining Oklo's proposed engagement to support future licensing activities.

Oklo's vision of an Aurora powerhouse (Image: Gensler)

Pre-licensing interactions like this will support an efficient and effective review process, leading to commercialisation of advanced reactor design technology, the company said.

"Oklo's reactor design has excellent safety characteristics and robust performance features," Oklo CEO Jacob DeWitte said. "We are working to present these features in a manner similar to what the NRC is used to from licensing light water reactors."

Oklo submitted an application to NRC in March 2020 to build and operate an Aurora compact fast reactor at the Idaho National Laboratory site. This was the first combined licence application ever accepted by the US regulator for an advanced plant, and contained more than 200 novel licensing items developed by the company. The regulator earlier this year decided it did not have sufficient information to continue with the process, but stressed that its denial of the application was not a determination on the safety, security, or merits of the application and did not preclude Oklo from resubmitting a licence application in the future.

"Our interactions, including in-person discussions, and our LPP submission set the pace for successful reviews while ensuring feedback from those interactions is incorporated into future regulatory interactions," said Oklo Senior Licensing Manager Tracy Orf.

Oklo's Aurora design is a fast neutron reactor that uses heat pipes to transport heat from the reactor core to a supercritical carbon dioxide power conversion system to generate electricity. The Aurora 'powerhouse' uses metallic high-assay low-enriched uranium, or HALEU, fuel to produce about 1.5 MWe and can also produce usable heat.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News