Nuclear Waste Startup Gets Backing for Underground Storage Holes

Deep Isolation Inc. raised $20 million from backers including NAC International Inc. to develop its system for storing deadly nuclear waste miles below the surface of the earth.

As part of the Series A funding round, NAC will also get a seat on Deep Isolation’s board, according to a statement Wednesday. The deal values the Berkeley, California-based company at $60 million.

Deep Isolation hasn’t yet received a license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for its borehole technology, and the firm doesn’t have customers that have agreed to use it. But potential clients have expressed interest in the idea, the company said.

“We need clean energy,” Chief Executive Officer Elizabeth Muller said in the statement. “In the case of nuclear power, this means finding a permanent solution for nuclear waste.”

Deep Isolation estimates that the global nuclear-waste disposal market is worth $660 billion. While there’s wide consensus that spent fuel rods should be stored deep underground, the only U.S. proposal for a national repository in Nevada has been stalled for decades because of local opposition. The company’s technology addresses this issue by proposing to bury waste near reactors, as an alternative to existing above-ground storage sites.

NAC International is a Georgia-based nuclear services company that’s been working with Deep Isolation since last year.

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