The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said this week that it had accepted for review Oklo Power's application to construct and operate a 1.5MW Aurora reactor at the Idaho National Laboratory.
The proposed Aurora design uses heat pipes to transport heat from the reactor core to a supercritical carbon-dioxide power conversion system to generate electricity.
Oklo submitted its application March 11, seeking approval of the first NRC license for an advanced non-light-water reactor design. The NRC and Oklo have engaged in “pre-application” discussions since 2016.
The U.S. regulator noted that “accepting the application for review, or “docketing,” does not indicate whether the Commission will ultimately approve or reject the request for a license.” Rather, the NRC said it is “ focusing on aligning on key design and safety aspects early in the process to provide a predictable and efficient licensing schedule.”
For approval, the project must first be open for public comment. Once the NRC publishes its notice in the Federal Register, the public hearing for the project is open for 60 days.
The company has yet to select a site for its reactor. According to Nuclear Engineering International, five sites are under consideration. Each of them are located on “dry, flat desert on a bed of basalt.”
The reactor will use Uzr metal fuel recovered from used nuclear power plants.
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