BWX Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: BWXT) announced Wednesday that its BWXT Nuclear Operations Group, Inc. subsidiary has been awarded a contract from the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to manufacture TRISO nuclear fuel to support the continued development of the Transformational Challenge Reactor (TCR).
BWXT had previously announced that it is restarting its TRISO production line at its Lynchburg, Virginia manufacturing site. Restart activities will be finalized the fall of 2020, the company said in a statement.
“By building and operating an additively manufactured microreactor, the ORNL program will explore solutions to the high costs and lengthy deployment timelines that threaten the future of nuclear energy—the country’s largest source of carbon-free energy.” BWXT is also providing manufacturing support to the program in addition to TRISO fuel.
“This contract award is strategically significant given our stated intention to find new markets for our advanced nuclear technologies,” said BWXT NOG President Joel Duling. He welcomed the opportunity to work with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Department of Energy “to demonstrate safe and clean nuclear power generation with a novel, low-cost, additively manufactured nuclear reactor.”
The scope of the contract includes the fabrication and delivery of uranium kernels, TRISO coated surrogate materials, and TRISO coated uranium kernels. ORNL will use these materials as it continues the development and prototyping of the reactor’s design and advanced manufacturing process. BWXT is increasing its TRISO production capacity and would be able to provide the necessary quantities of fuel to power multiple reactor designs manufactured using TCR principles in the future.
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