Framatome said Wednesday it had received a voucher from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear program (GAIN) to support development of Lightbridge Fuel in collaboration with Idaho National Laboratory (INL).
The voucher is the company's third GAIN voucher. It is the first, however, supporting the Lightbridge Fuel design conducted by Enfission LLC, the joint venture between Framatome and Lightbridge Corporation.
“This voucher enables Framatome to apply focused attention on key licensing steps to commercialize Lightbridge Fuel,” said Robert Freeman, vice president, Contracts and Services, Fuel Commercial and Customer Center at Framatome. “We are enthusiastic about the transformative science and technology benefits of this metallic fuel’s unique composition and geometry for the nuclear energy industry.”
Framatome’s collaboration with INL under this GAIN voucher will facilitate Framatome’s understanding of phenomena unique to uranium-zirconium metallic fuel, the company said.
Over a period of 12 months, Framatome and INL will work under the voucher to generate Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) and a Phenomena Identification Ranking Table (PIRT) based on the Lightbridge Fuel concept. Both the FMEA and PIRT are important steps in licensing an advanced fuel product in the U.S. and will be required inputs to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
For this work DOE will fund INL at a value of $477,000.
Seth Grae, chief executive officer of Enfission, said the fuel is designed to "increase power output, enhance economics and provide additional safety benefits for existing and future reactors worldwide."
Framatome and Lightbridge launched the 50-50 joint venture company, Enfission, in January 2018. The company's goal is to develop, license and sell nuclear fuel assemblies based on Lightbridge-designed metallic fuel technology and other advanced nuclear fuel intellectual property.
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