Nuclear service provider Westinghouse, the UK National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL), and Terrestrial Energy have signed an agreement for nuclear fuel development with the aim of supplying enriched uranium fuel for use in Terrestrial Energy’s Integral Molten Salt Reactor (IMSR).
The Generation IV IMSR reactor is in development in Oakville, Ontario. Westinghouse, meanwhile, runs a uranium fuel facility in Springfields in the UK, which is already a commercial leader in nuclear fuel production. The NNL, concurrently, has a research base at the Springfields facility.
The collaborative agreement was announced Wednesday.
IMSR fuel utilizes Standard Assay Low Enriched Uranium (LEU), which over many decades has become the commercial fuel standard. Standard Assay LEU is enriched to up to 5 percent uranium-235, at plants in Germany, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, and the United States. Terrestrial Energy’s use of Standard Assay LEU fuel in IMSR operation, the only Generation IV reactor design to do so today, supports early deployment.
“The development of the IMSR power plant provides a fundamental platform that showcases the vast potential of the Springfields site," said Paul Howarth, Chief Executive of NNL. "The agreement also harnesses NNL’s expertise in collaboration with Westinghouse global fuels experience and capabilities, which is vital to expand the supply capability for advanced reactor fuels.”
“These technologies will support skilled manufacturing jobs at our Springfields site in Lancashire, a strategic national asset for the United Kingdom, employing around 800 high-value jobs in the region," noted Sophie Lemaire, Westinghouse Regional Vice President.
The agreement between Terrestrial Energy, Westinghouse and the National Nuclear Laboratory defines the process for delivering IMSR fuel for commercial use, concurrent with schedules for commercial operation of IMSR power plants by electric utility customers.
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