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    Oklo announces plans for 2 nuclear plants in Ohio area touted as prime real estate for advanced reactors

    May 22, 2023 - Stephen Singer


      Dive Brief:

      -- Oklo and the Southern Ohio Diversification Initiative, or SODI, a redevelopment agency, have signed an agreement to develop two nuclear plants on a re-industrialized site once used for the production of enriched uranium for the U.S. nuclear defense system and commercial nuclear power, the company announced Thursday. -- The plants will provide up to 30 MW of clean electric power and more than 50 MW of clean heating, with opportunities to expand, Oklo said. -- Oklo, based in Santa Clara, California, is accelerating its commercialization plans with the sites, building on its deployment at Idaho National Lab, said co-founder and CEO Jacob DeWitte. Oklo obtained a site use permit from the U.S. Department of Energy in 2019 for the Idaho project. Dive Insight:

      Bonita Chester, a spokesperson for Oklo, said the company is developing schedules and timeframes for the two plants in Piketon, Ohio, and anticipates submitting an application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission by 2025.

      DeWitte said the Ohio plants will help scale up the supply chain for Oklo's other deployments.

      "Our business model, and use of mature, demonstrated reactor technologies allow us to provide power to customers who want the reliable, clean and affordable energy we can provide," he said.

      "SODI is proud to partner with Oklo and see the land developed in a way that will provide benefits to the community and the entire region," said Kevin Shoemaker, legal counsel of SODI.

      As Oklo and SODI delpoy the power plants, the site is being evaluated for potential manufacturing or industrial facilities, the partners said. SODI was tasked by DOE to re-industrialize land around the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant south of Piketon, Ohio.

      The federal plant was built in the 1950s and is shut and undergoing decontamination and decommissioning. The 3,700-acre site is owned and managed by DOE.

      A 2017 report by an industry alliance to DOE described' the southern Ohio site as a "fully industrialized nuclear enclave," with a gaseous diffusion plant, centrifuge technology facilities and a skilled nuclear workforce. Following studies and experience with federal and state agencies over 30 years, "the probability of having any significant unknowns relative to the site is extremely small," the report said.

      In 2019, SODI began the process of permitting and decontamination and decommissioning studies to support the deployment of advanced reactor technology at a Portsmouth, Ohio, site between 2028 and 2033.

      NRC announced in January 2022 it denied without prejudice an application by Oklo to construct the United States' first advanced nuclear reactor, in Idaho. The small design, Aurora, would be capable of producing 1.5 MW of electric power.

      Chester said Friday Oklo is "actively engaged with the NRC as it prepares to submit a new application within 12 months."


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