DOE awards TRISO-X Fuel Fabrication Facility Design and Licensing Project.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced that X Energy, LLC (X-energy) has been awarded a $8.99 million cooperative agreement for the design and license application development of TRISO-X: a cross-cutting, high assay low enriched uranium (HALEU) fuel fabrication facility. The TRISO-X Fuel Facility supports advanced reactor (AR) and accident tolerant fuel (ATF) designs, including the X-energy Reactor, with the capability to fabricate multiple HALEU fuel forms.
“This is an exciting time for X-energy as we embark on this First of a Kind (FOAK) fuel facility that will be licensed to support numerous ARs,” said Dr. Kam Ghaffarian, X-energy Founder and CEO. “Given that many AR technologies require higher enriched fuel, a new fabrication facility and the associated U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) fuel facility licensing are required to fulfill a critical element of the supply chain. Our project will ensure the AR industry can meet DOE deployment goals by the mid-2020s.”
X-energy is currently manufacturing uranium oxide/carbide (UCO) based kernels, tristructural isotropic (TRISO) particles, and fuel pebbles at a 5,000-sq. ft. Pilot Facility located at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) as part of the DOE Advanced Reactor Concept 2015 Cooperative Agreement. This DOE Project allows X-energy to move from Pilot toward a FOAK fuel facility that serves ARs with HALEU requirements, TRISO-based fuel forms, and ATF. X-energy Project partners include Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Centrus Energy, Southern Nuclear Development, and Sargent & Lundy.
“With this funding we will initiate design of a high-assay low enriched uranium fuel facility – TRISO-X – while in parallel developing a license application to the NRC,” states Dr. Pete Pappano, Vice President, Fuel Production and Project Principal Investigator. “We’ve had great success in developing TRISO-based fuel element fabrication processes that utilize rapid prototyping and on-line instrumentation to consistently produce high quality fuel. The advanced characterization techniques we’ve employed to prove fuel quality are cutting-edge and will make the TRISO-X Facility more efficient than any previous fuel facility.”