Oklo, Inc., a small company in California, this week announced the launch of Aurora, an advanced fission clean energy plant the company says is designed to produce “affordable, reliable, clean, power.” The company has been engaged in pre-application activities with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission since 2016. Currently, the company is preparing to ready an application for license approval.
The company has named its power plant the Aurora. While dubbed a “fission battery,” it is meant to demonstrate the use of both advanced fission and renewable power. The plant uses metal fuel and has a 1.5MWe capacity, according to Nuclear Engineering International.
“While heat and electrons are the product, the Aurora powerhouse is the main point for community interaction. We spent years thinking about how it could look, how it would function, and how it would become a point of pride in a community,” said Jacob DeWitte, CEO and co-founder of Oklo.
The plant design allows for power production “for decades without needing to refuel,” the company says. “The small size of the Aurora design, the placement of the Aurora fuel underground, the ability to operate without needing cooling water, the demonstrated natural shutdown behavior of the fuel, the use of a fission spectrum which can recycle fuel and ultimately convert nuclear waste to clean energy, and many more unique and beneficial attributes,” are incorporated in the design, according to Oklo.
“For years we would not put out renderings, waiting instead until detailed analytical work behind it was completed. We are happy to share that the art and the engineering have come together at this point to launch the Aurora and share renderings of the Aurora powerhouse,” said DeWitte.
The Aurora powerhouse utilizes an iconic design while keeping practicality and operation in mind. The sloped roof is functional in a range of weather conditions, which can include significant snowfall in some of the areas in which the Aurora may operate. The roofing pieces enable modular construction and allows for support for solar photovoltaic panels. “Oklo has been intentional to include solar panels as part of the Aurora powerhouse to illustrate how advanced fission and renewables can work together in a high reliability, clean microgrid,” the company said.
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