Lightbridge Corporation, a U.S. nuclear fuel development company, and AREVA NP, a leader in nuclear fuel, components and reactor services [Areva is France’s nuclear energy company], have agreed upon key terms for the creation of a new joint venture to develop, manufacture and commercialize fuel assemblies based on Lightbridge’s innovative metallic nuclear fuel technology designed to significantly improve the economics, efficiency and safety of existing and new nuclear power facilities.
The joint venture company creates a viable and well-defined commercialization path for the patented metallic nuclear fuel technology in the global market, including in the United States, Europe and Asia.
Lightbridge’s all metal fuel (AMF) assembly is comprised entirely of metallic fuel rods and is capable of providing up to 17% increase in power output in existing PWRs and up to a 30% power uprate in new build PWRs operating on 18-month fuel cycles. Due to certain constraints associated with the size of equipment that can fit in the containment structures of existing PWRs, there are limits as to the maximum power uprate level existing PWRs can accommodate without changing their existing containment structure. However, a new build unit can be constructed with a larger containment to allow for higher capacity equipment with relatively small capital cost increase.
Lightbridge is developing three primary nuclear fuel product offerings for power uprates and longer fuel cycles:
- LTB17-1024™ all-metal fuel for up to 10% power uprates and 24-month operating cycles in existing PWRs;
- LTB17-1718 1718™ all-metal fuel for up to 17% power uprates and 1818-month operating cycles in existing PWRs; and
- LTB17-3018™ all-metal fuel for up to 30% power uprates and 18-month operating cycles in new-build PWRs.
- In addition, Lightbridge is developing LTB17-Th18™, our™ thorium-based seed and blanket fuel, which offers significant back-end advantages and enhanced proliferation resistance of used fuel.