US-based laser enrichment technology developer LIS Technologies has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Curio Legacy Ventures (CLV), a subsidiary of Curio Solutions, to explore possible applications of LIS technology for efficient recovery of usable uranium isotopes from commercial used fuel.

Curio, using its NuCycle technology, intends to produce, on a global scale, a wide range of isotopes with existing and foreseen market demand. These products range from uranium for existing reactors, transuranic-based fuels for advanced reactors, and a wide range of isotopes for medical, industrial, space, and defence applications. This collaborative initiative aims to determine the feasibility of the efficiently enriching uranium recovered from used fuel using laser isotope separation. It will also look to establish  a framework and procedures for the storage, management, and transportation of products derived from the prospective activities of a NuCycle facility.

Ed McGinnis, CEO of Curio said  NuCycle “represents a step change in nuclear recycling technology, and this collaboration underscores our commitment to advancing the full potential of what recycling used fuel can offer to the nuclear industry”.  

LIS Technologies CEO Christo Liebenberg the MOU with Curio represents a strategic evolution for the company. “Our patented CRISLA technology stands at the forefront of innovation, and this collaboration with Curio presents an invaluable opportunity to leverage the unique strengths of our respective entities and explore the practical applications for our patented LIS technology, particularly in the context of uranium and the expanding domestic nuclear energy sector.”

The proprietary laser-based technique developed by LIS  offers greater energy-efficiency and has the potential to be deployed with highly competitive capital and operational costs. The technology has potential applications for uranium enrichment for nuclear fuel, the synthesis of stable isotopes critical for medical and other scientific research, and in the growing field of quantum computing, particularly in the manufacturing of semiconductor technologies. A United States Patent & Trademark Office issued patent safeguards the company’s process for selectively exciting and harvesting a specific isotopic species in a supersonic low-pressure flow chamber.

Curio says it is pioneering technologies to develop a closed fuel cycle. NuCycle is a patented process for nuclear fuel recycling that not only tackles environmental and security concerns but also unlocks vast market opportunities.

LIS says its technology has several major advantages over traditional methods such as gas diffusion, centrifuges, and other  laser enrichment. It is more energy-efficient and has the potential to be deployed with highly competitive capital and operational costs.  It is optimised for LEU (Low Enriched Uranium) for existing NPPs, High-Assay LEU (HALEU) for small modular reactors, the production of stable isotopes for medical and scientific research, and applications in quantum computing manufacturing for semiconductor technologies.