U.S.-based small modular reactor developer NuScale Power and fuel-development company Enfission, announced Wednesday they had signed a memorandum of understanding to explore the use of next generation nuclear fuel technology in NuScale’s small modular reactors.
It is envisioned that Enfission, a joint venture of Lightbridge Corporation and Framatome, "could spur improvements in core design, performance, and levelized costs of electricity," for NuScale's reactor, which will be capable of generating 60 MW of electricity using a scalable version of pressurized water reactor technology. NuScale's design allows for power plants that can house up to 12 individual power modules, which offers the benefit of custom-sizing a power plant to a community's needs.
"As NuScale continues making progress to bring America’s first small modular reactor to market, we are excited to begin work with Virginia-based Enfission, the industry leader in metallic fuel rod technology,” said NuScale Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer José Reyes. “We look forward to further optimizing all aspects of our unparalleled advanced nuclear reactor design.”
Enfission is developing and commercializing next generation nuclear fuel technology that is expected to improve the economics and safety of existing and new reactors. NuScale and Enfission will collaborate on the development of research and testing programs to explore the application of Enfission’s nuclear fuel rod technology, which is well suited for NuScale’s natural circulation design.
The company’s advanced fuel rod design is expected to increase core performance, extend core life, reduce refueling outages and offer reduced levelized cost of electricity.
On December 1, 2015, Framatome signed an agreement with NuScale to manufacture fuel assemblies for its SMR based on conventional ceramic uranium dioxide fuel and provide testing and analyses needed for its Nuclear Regulatory Commission design certification application. The addition of Enfission’s Lightbridge Fuel into the equation "further solidifies this relationship and will provide future flexibility on fuel types depending on the reactor demands," the companies said.
“We look forward to working with NuScale Power, with our patented metallic fuel technology contributing to NuScale’s ground-breaking progress in introducing the country’s first small modular reactor,” said Seth Grae, President and Chief Executive Officer of Lightbridge and Enfission.
NuScale’s technology is the world’s first and only SMR to undergo design certification review by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The NRC is scheduled to complete its review of NuScale’s design in September 2020.
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