Lightbridge Corp., the leading researcher into non-proliferative nuclear fuel technology (thorium-based designs which do not produce weapons-suitable plutonium in nuclear spent fuel), has announced the development of a nuclear fuel technology based on a proprietary all-metal fuel assembly design, offering significantly reduced initial capital and operating costs. The technology is believed applicable to currently operating or new light water reactors as well as small modular reactors. It is also highly synergistic with fast reactor fuel designs.
The new all-metal fuel technology could increase power output by 30% compared to reactors using standard oxide nuclear fuel. This could translate into additional revenue of up to $250 million per year, or nearly $16 billion over the expected 60-year lifetime of a 1,600-MWe light water reactor. The increased efficiency reduces operating costs, strengthening the economics of nuclear power versus other forms of electricity generation. The new design would also provide enhanced proliferation resistance, resulting in up to 23% less volume of used fuel per kilowatt-hour of electricity generated.
Lightbridge CEO, Seth Grae, said, “When it comes to meeting the ever increasing global demand for power generation, innovation will be the key to a sustainable and safe solution for industry and governments worldwide. Our breakthrough all-metal fuel technology builds upon over a decade of research and development effort that has been underway on our seed-and-blanket fuel assembly design. This transformational fuel technology also helps advance our seed-and-blanket fuel assembly designs due to the synergies between the seed fuel rods and the fuel rods used in the all-metal fuel assembly design. We expect that our all-metal nuclear fuel technology will provide significant economic incentives to nuclear utilities that make it economically attractive to adopt this advanced fuel product.”
Sam Vaidyanathan, of Lightbridge’s Technical Advisory Board, added, “Simply stated this development is a very significant one for the nuclear power industry. For those of us who have been in this business for the last few decades, this development without a doubt is transformational. The tangible benefits are clear, measurable, and will likely have a substantive impact on the future of the nuclear power industry. We’re very pleased and excited about this technological breakthrough.”
For additional information, see the company website at www.ltbridge.com.