New York Patent of the Month – March 2024

Curio Solutions, LLC is committed to the development of nuclear technologies – an effort that aims to deliver clean nuclear power. They believe their proprietary CURIO® technology is bringing about the second nuclear era.

Recently, the company has been granted a patent for a novel invention that aims to revolutionize the way used nuclear fuel (UNF) is recycled, addressing critical issues surrounding nuclear waste management. This single integrated system offers a comprehensive solution, encompassing multiple stages to efficiently recycle UNF emerging from reactors.

At the heart of this innovation lies a sophisticated decladding vessel, designed to separate fuel pellets from nuclear fuel rods through an oxidation process, resulting in the production of U3O8. The vessel features a removable basket mechanism constructed from oxidation-resistant ceramic or ceramic composites, ensuring durability and reliability. With the aid of a dry oxygen atmosphere and a carefully controlled temperature range of 400-500°C, the UO2 within the fuel pellets is transformed into U3O8, which accumulates at the bottom of the vessel for further processing.

Following the decladding stage, the system seamlessly transitions to a fluorination vessel, where hexafluorides are efficiently removed from the U3O8 under precise conditions. This vessel incorporates advanced features such as double-wall construction for enhanced safety and efficiency, along with a fluorinating agent inlet to facilitate the removal process. By utilizing a fluorinating agent in a molten salt environment, volatile hexafluorides are effectively separated from the U3O8, ensuring purity and quality in the subsequent stages of recycling.

The final stage of the process involves an electrowinning vessel, which plays a crucial role in removing plutonium and minor actinides from the molten salt medium through electrowinning. This vessel is equipped with sophisticated components, including anodes, cathodes, and conductive support rails, all meticulously designed to facilitate the extraction process. By applying an electric potential and employing noble gases to optimize the environment, the system achieves exceptional efficiency in recovering valuable materials from the UNF.

Curio Solutions’ integrated system represents a significant leap forward in nuclear waste recycling technology. By streamlining the recycling process and maximizing resource recovery, this invention holds immense promise for addressing the challenges associated with nuclear waste management. With its innovative design and advanced capabilities, it offers a sustainable solution for a cleaner and safer future.

Are you developing new technology for an existing application? Did you know your development work could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and you can receive up to 14% back on your expenses? Even if your development isn’t successful your work may still qualify for R&D credits (i.e. you don’t need to have a patent to qualify). To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today or check out our free online eligibility test.

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Swanson Reed regularly hosts free webinars and provides free IRS CE and CPE credits for CPAs. For more information please visit us at or contact your usual Swanson Reed representative.

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