Nuclear waste disposal solutions company Deep Isolation and engineering and construction company Bechtel National in the USA have announced a cooperative agreement on sales, product development, and the deployment of Deep Isolation’s technology.
The Memorandum of Agreement strengthens the relationship between Deep Isolation and Bechtel that has been built over the past year.
Under the MOA Bechtel will provide support such as project management, financial/business and engineering capability for Deep Isolation’s sales in both domestic and international markets, including those with the US Department of Energy (DOE).
Deep Isolation will also provide options to support Bechtel’s cleanup work at federal government sites, and could become a key player in Bechtel’s decommissioning contracts at commercial nuclear power plants in the USA and worldwide, a statement said.
"We have the horsepower of Bechtel behind us. Deep Isolation is now well positioned to deploy its solution globally,” said Deep Isolation COO Rod Baltzer.
Globally, there are some 450,000 metric tons of accumulated nuclear waste but currently no operating disposal solution for commercial used nuclear fuel or high-level waste.
Deep Isolation is proposing to use directional drilling in order to safely secure nuclear waste deep underground. The company says it is prepared for early engagment with local communities and stakeholders on this siting.
“Bechtel was the first major industry player that understood the significance of what Deep Isolation is doing," said Deep Isolation CEO Elizabeth Muller. "They appreciate the importance of innovation and urgency in solving the nuclear waste problem,” she noted.
James Taylor, general manager of Bechtel’s Environmental business line, said: “Deep geologic disposal is the scientific consensus for permanently removing and disposing used nuclear fuel and high-level waste from their current locations around the country. We have long-term expertise in design, engineering and licensing, as well as the boots-on-the-ground experience with the everyday challenges of cleaning up radioactive waste.”
The partnership aims to implement a technical approach for disposing of used commercial nuclear fuel products or high-level waste. As part of the agreement, Deep Isolation will receive project management, engineering and financial and business support services from Bechtel for the former's global sales initiatives.
Both companies also want to offer a horizontal drillhole disposal platform in the global market.
Photo: Deep Isolation's disposal concept