NRC Denies Oklo Combined License Application for Lack of Information; Company May Reapply in the Future

Nuclear Regulatory Commission - News Release
No: 22-002 January 6, 2022
CONTACT: Scott Burnell, 301-415-8200

NRC Denies Oklo Combined License Application for Lack of Information; Company May Reapply in the Future
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has denied, without prejudice, Oklo Power, LLC.’s application to build and operate the company’s Aurora compact fast reactor in Idaho. The denial is based on Oklo’s failure to provide information on several key topics for the Aurora design. The company is free to submit a complete application in the future.
“Since Oklo submitted its application almost 22 months ago, our engagement with the company has included multiple information requests, audits and public meetings,” said NRC Director of the Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation Andrea Veil. “We thoroughly considered Oklo’s proposals for satisfying our safety requirements.”
“Oklo’s application continues to contain significant information gaps in its description of Aurora’s potential accidents as well as its classification of safety systems and components,” Veil said. “These gaps prevent further review activities. We are prepared to re-engage with Oklo if they submit a revised application that provides the information we need for a thorough and timely review.”
Veil added that the NRC remains committed to efficiently and reliably reviewing advanced reactor designs.
Oklo submitted the application on March 11, 2020, seeking an NRC license for an advanced reactor to be built at the Idaho National Laboratory site. The proposed Aurora design would use heat pipes to transport heat from the reactor core to a power conversion system. The NRC staff accepted the application on June 5, 2020, taking a novel approach of working to align with Oklo on identified information gaps related to key design and safety aspects early in the process before developing a review schedule. Those alignment efforts included Oklo’s submission of reports on several topics in July 2021. The company supplemented those reports in October of that year, and the staff has concluded the reports fail to close the information gaps.
As the application lacks information on key topics, the NRC’s action makes no safety findings regarding the Aurora design. Following the publication of an upcoming Federal Register notice, Oklo will have 30 days to request a hearing regarding the agency’s decision. Other interested persons or entities who might be affected by the decision can also ask to participate in a hearing.