Mirion Technologies has recently entered into a design contract with X-Energy Reactor Company. The collaboration primarily involves Mirion offering comprehensive design support for the Xe-100 Burn Up Measurement System (BUMS), an essential component in the fuel cycle of the Xe-100 high-temperature gas-cooled reactor (HTGR).
Understanding the BUMS
The Burn Up Measurement System, specifically for the Xe-100, is a key component of the online reactor's fuel management. Equipped with high-purity Germanium (HPGe) detectors, the BUMS emphasizes accuracy and aims to optimize nuclear fuel usage. This not only enhances system productivity but also aims to decrease waste. A unique feature of BUMS is its ability to measure specific gamma indicators to evaluate the burn-up level, initial fuel enrichment, and the plutonium/uranium ratio in each circulating fuel pebble.
A statement clarified that the BUMS is an essential part of the reactors, designed to meet fuel efficiency targets and maintain reliable operation. With Mirion's well-established background in nuclear instrumentation, there's an expectation to test the BUMS prototype by 2024 and initiate the production of operational units by 2025.
The Progression Path
The ongoing developmental phase sees X-energy and Mirion working on the BUMS system, integrating a Mirion HPGe detector. To align with the protective strategies of the Xe-100 and its fuel management, BUMS is set to undergo a qualification process to validate its functionality under stipulated conditions.
The advanced test reactor at the Idaho National Laboratory is the chosen venue for further testing.
In a noteworthy development last year, X-energy secured $1.2 billion from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program. The grant is intended for the development, licensing, and establishment of an advanced reactor and fuel fabrication facility within the decade. Mirion, already a prominent name in radiation safety and measurements in global nuclear power facilities, has been in continuous discussions with various small modular reactor (SMR) stakeholders over the past year.
Mirion’s Chief Executive Officer, Thomas Logan, remarked on the collaboration, emphasizing their preparedness and expertise in ionizing radiation and nuclear power to support upcoming innovations in the field.
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