The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) rejected Oklo Power, LLC’s application to build and operate the company’s Aurora compact fast reactor in Idaho.

Silicon Valley-based Oklo Power submitted the application in March 2020 and sought an NRC license for the 1.5 MW reactor to be built at the Idaho National Laboratory. The license application was accepted in June of that year.

Aurora would transport heat from the reactor core to a power conversion system and is designed to run on material from used nuclear fuel known as HALEU, or “high assay, low-enriched uranium.” Oklo’s was the first combined construction and operation license for an advanced fission technology to be accepted for review by federal regulators.

Although NRC said that Oklo submitted supplementary information on several topics in both July and October, it found the information remained insufficient.

Oklo’s application contained “significant information gaps” in its description of Aurora’s potential accidents as well as its classification of safety systems and components, the NRC said. Although the gaps prevented further review, NRC said it was prepared to re-engage with Oklo if the company submits a revised application.

The Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation may deny an application if an applicant fails to respond to a request for information within 30 days from the date of the request. NRC said Oklo has 30 days to appeal the denial and is free to submit a complete application in the future.

“We are eager to continue moving forward on not just this project with the NRC, but also other projects we are already engaged on with the NRC, including other budgeted application submittals,” said an Oklo Power company spokesperson in statement to Power Engineering.  “Our combined license application was the first ever accepted for an advanced plant, so there are many new things for all to learn from and work through to support a successful review, and it provides a foundation from which we can supply additional information and continue work with the NRC.”

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