Lightbridge, BWTX agree to nuclear-fuel fabrication deal

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Virginia-based Lightbridge Corp., a nuclear energy firm, and North Carolina-based BWTX Nuclear Energy Inc. have entered into an agreement to evaluate ways to fabricate and to prepare a fabrication plan for Lightbridge-designed partial-length nuclear fuel samples at BWXT facilities in the U.S., Lightbridge said this week.

The agreement might lead to further collaborations, which might involve fully developing Lightbridge's metallic fuel assemblies. Lightbridge President and CEO Seth Grae said the U.S. Clean Power Plan and the Paris climate-change agreement both call for nuclear-power uprates and that the fuel design from the company can help companies and nations reach uprate goals. Grae also said the fuel design is expected to allow nuclear facilities to increase their respective economic viability.

Lightbridge's fuel recently received approval from the Norwegian Radiation Protection Agency for use in the Halden Research Reactor to test fuel in commercial settings. Grae also said collaboration between Lightbridge and BWXT will benefit the development process.

“BWXT brings unique fuel manufacturing expertise and capabilities to help advance our nuclear fuel technology,” Grae said. “This agreement provides Lightbridge an additional option for manufacturing our fuel samples for irradiation testing in Norway, adding fuel-fabrication redundancy to ensure that we will meet all of our timelines. We look forward to expanding our collaboration with BWXT."

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