We woke up a few days ago to incredibly surprising decisio ns by the NRC. Although Oklo responded to every request for information, and the last thing we heard from the NRC was that the information we submitted was helpful, the NRC has denied our first application on the basis of not having submitted information. The NRC has now gone from having one combined license under review to none.
Since then, we’ve had conversations with our team, friends, investors, national lab teammates, partners, and so on. What might be surprising is that in the midst of this all, there are some great things emerging. A challenge really is an opportunity.
The first silver lining is this: the NRC actions are catalyzing a new wave of support, momentum, and introspection from those that support advanced fission. This might not have happened in the same way, had we proceeded on what we and everyone imagined would be a slow process of many smaller “paper cuts.”
An example of this would be the work that NuScale has done — dutifully moving forward after almost 14 years of pre-application and design certification work, with their license application still ahead. Oklo supported the “lessons learned” letter that NuScale put out regarding needed NRC process improvements, but it really was not given the attention it should have been. Too often people think issues won’t happen again or won’t affect them, and ignore opportunities to unite to drive improvement. This time we are seeing that support, which is crucial: the climate cannot wait.