Centrus Energy Corp. said Wednesday it had signed a services contract with X Energy to support the design of a facility to produce advanced nuclear fuel, a contract that builds upon a memorandum of understanding the companies signed in September 2017 to collaborate toward production of fuel for advanced nuclear reactors.
Under the agreement, Centrus will provide X-energy with technical expertise and resources to support conceptual design of a facility to produce X-energy’s uranium oxycarbide (UCO) tristructural isotropic (TRISO) fuel forms.
This effort includes nuclear criticality safety analysis, manufacturing equipment layout and infrastructure design, and conceptual development of fuel form transport packages. Centrus will also provide facility space to X-energy at Centrus’ Technology and Manufacturing Center in Oak Ridge, Tenn. TRISO fuel forms can meet the requirements for the X-energy Xe-100 high temperature gas cooled reactor, as well as for other advanced nuclear reactor technologies being developed around the world.
The services contract supports the companies’ previously announced joint effort to prepare a deployment plan for X-energy’s TRISO fuel technology; design a cost-effective, highly automated fuel manufacturing process line; and seek funding for a future commercial fuel production facility. With a view towards the potential formation of a joint entity to perform these activities, on March 26, 2018, the companies also entered into an additional Memorandum of Understanding, which defines each party’s relative contributions to be considered in the formation of such an entity.
X-energy President Harlan Bowers said development of domestic capability to produce qualified, high assay low enriched uranium-based fuel forms in the United States had become "urgent.”
“Advanced reactor companies must have a reliable fuel source within the next six years to enable first-of-a-kind deployment by the mid-to late-2020s. Through partnership with Centrus, we intend to have our TRISO-X Fuel Fabrication Facility constructed and producing fuel before 2025," Bowers said in a statement.
“Our work with X-energy will build the foundation for deploying an American fuel source for advanced reactors,” said Daniel Poneman, president and CEO of Centrus.
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