Deep Isolation will collaborate with EPRI, Southern Company, the Nuclear Energy Institute, Auburn University, and J Kessler and Associates to assess the feasibility of onsite horizontal deep borehole disposal for the siting of advanced nuclear energy systems.
The study will discuss physical site characteristics, disposal operations, safety performance analysis, regulatory and licensing considerations, and will outline an approach to understanding and building public support. This is similar to a foundation study that Deep Isolation markets to governments worldwide.
This project will leverage diverse expertise to evaluate the potential application of horizontal deep borehole techniques to address the permanent disposal of high-level nuclear waste for the next generation of nuclear reactors.
"The disposal of spent nuclear fuel should be considered during the development of advanced and microreactors to ensure the ultimate disposition of the fuel is known and not left unresolved," said Elizabeth Muller, CEO of Deep Isolation. "This contract allows us to align the siting requirements of an advanced reactor with the siting requirements of deep horizontal disposal of the waste that will be generated."
EPRI brings to this project more than two decades of pioneering research and development (R&D) in the integrated performance assessment of deep geologic disposal systems. EPRI has performed numerous studies on advanced nuclear fuel cycles and is focused on R&D to support commercial demonstration and deployment of advanced reactor designs.
"This effort will help the industry and the public understand the uses of horizontal deep borehole disposal," said Andrew Sowder, EPRI senior technical executive in Advanced Nuclear Technology. "We want to equip next-generation reactors with a plan for handling nuclear waste from the beginning, and the collaboration this project offers is a potential path."