U.S. nuclear fuel technology developer Lightbridge Ltd. announce the completion of work under the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) voucher program to support the development of Lightbridge Fuel, in collaboration with Idaho National Laboratory (INL).
The scope of the project included the design of an experiment for the irradiation of Lightbridge metallic fuel material samples in the Advanced Test Reactor (ATR) at INL. Together, the Lightbridge and INL teams established the test plan for the measurement of key thermophysical properties of Lightbridge Fuel material both before and after irradiation in the ATR. From there, INL performed a detailed design and established the safety case needed for the insertion of the experiment in the ATR. This included the control of parameters such as sample enrichment, thermal-hydraulic capacity, maximum sample temperature, neutron fluence, and the physical location of test capsules within the ATR.
The next step in the testing program is to contract for the high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) material and fabrication of the sample coupons for insertion into the ATR. Lightbridge’s goal is to have the experiment available for insertion into the ATR when its core internal change-out maintenance outage is completed. The actual experiment insertion is subject to the final duration of the outage, the availability of testing positions in the ATR, and INL's prior commitments for testing. Once the required burn-up is achieved in the ATR, post-irradiation testing is planned.
Lightbridge President and Chief Executive Officer Seth Grae called the project "a major milestone achievement ... which makes the design and safety case for Lightbridge Fuel samples to be tested in the Advanced Test Reactor at INL.”
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