Advanced nuclear company Oklo aims to accelerate commercialization plans for its microreactor with two new power plants in Ohio.

Oklo will build its second and third plants on land owned by the Southern Ohio Diversification Initiative (SODI), according to an agreement announced May 18. The land will host two commercial 15-MWe Aurora powerhouses (30 MWe total) and over 50 MW of clean heating, with opportunities to expand.

The plants will also support job creation in the Southern Ohio area, according to the agreement. SODI is one of the leading partners for the Site Reuse Deployment Guidance for Advanced Reactors project, along with team members from Orano Federal Services, Southern Nuclear Company, Electrical Power Research Institute (EPRI), and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Idaho National Laboratory (INL).

The project was funded through a grant from the DOE Office of Nuclear Energy to support the deployment of advanced reactor technology and the use of former nuclear sites.

Oklo’s Aurora design is a fast neutron reactor that 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.” The reactor builds on the Experimental Breeder Reactor-II and space reactor legacy.

Oklo obtained a site use permit from the DOE for the Idaho site at INL in 2019. The company applied with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in March 2020 to build and operate the reactor at INL. This was the first combined license application ever accepted by the NRC for an advanced non-light water reactor.

But the NRC rejected Oklo’s application in January 2022.

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 submitted a revised application.

In September 2022, Oklo re-launched its licensing effort.

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