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ARPA-E to Fund Used Nuclear Fuel (UNF) Recycling Initiative

ARPA-E to Fund Used Nuclear Fuel (UNF) Recycling Initiative

The U.S. Department of Energy recently announced $38 million for a dozen projects that will work to reduce the impacts of light-water reactor used nuclear fuel (UNF) disposal. The projects, led by universities, private companies, and national laboratories, were selected to develop technologies to advance UNF recycling, reduce the volume of high-level waste requiring permanent disposal, and provide safe domestic advanced reactor fuel stocks.
Upon discharge from a nuclear reactor, the UNF is initially stored in steel-lined concrete pools surrounded by water. It is later removed from the pools and placed into dry storage casks with protective shielding. UNF can be recycled to make new fuel and byproducts that support the deployment of nuclear energy and advance national energy goals to offset climate change and domestic reliance on fossil energy through widespread clean energy use.
Most of the nation’s used fuel is safely and securely stored at more than 70 reactor sites across the country. Projects funded through the Converting UNF Radioisotopes Into Energy (CURIE) program will enable secure, economical recycling of the nation’s UNF and substantially reduce the volume, heat load, and radiotoxicity of waste requiring permanent disposal. These efforts will also provide a valuable and sustainable fuel feedstock for advanced reactors. 
For a full list of awards and additional information on ARPA-E’s UNF programs, visit here.

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