X-energy supports and commends the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Nuclear Energy Oak Ridge Site Office (NE-ORSO) announcement of their intent to contract with American Centrifuge Operating LLC (ACO), a subsidiary of Centrus Energy Corp., for the demonstration of high assay low enriched uranium (HALEU) production.
Dr. Pete Pappano, X-energy’s Vice President of Fuels Production stated, “The production of HALEU by a domestic supplier using U.S. developed technology addresses a major gap in the existing supply chain for next generation fuel facilities that supply advanced reactors.”
This HALEU Demonstration Program will culminate in the production of 19.75% enriched uranium using U.S.-designed and operated advanced centrifuge technology. To deploy Generation IV reactors, many of the designs require a stable and reliable source of fuel utilizing HALEU. The X-energy Reactor, a high temperature gas-cooled pebble bed reactor employs 15.5% enriched uranium.
The announcement integrates with X-energy’s plan to design, license, and construct the TRISO-X Fuel Fabrication Facility (FFF); a cross-cutting facility capable of supplying numerous advanced reactor designs with fuel. X-energy has initiated preliminary design and pre-application activities with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), with plans for an operational facility in the 2023-2024 timeframe.
“The successful deployment of advanced reactors, both for commercial and government applications, by the mid to late 2020’s is vital to reviving the U.S. nuclear industry and re-establishing the U.S. as a leader in nuclear research, development, and innovation,” said Harlan Bowers, president of X-energy. “This revitalization cannot occur without a complete fuel supply chain, including HALEU production and fuel fabrication.”
X-energy is an advanced nuclear reactor design and TRISO-based fuel fabrication company. X-energy is developing an innovative nuclear power plant design solution. The X-energy Reactor is a 200MWt (75MWe) high temperature gas-cooled pebble bed modular reactor that requires less time to construct, uses factory-produced components, cannot melt down, and is “walk-away” safe without operator intervention. In concert with the X-energy Reactor design, X-energy is actively producing TRISO-based fuel forms and is implementing pilot scale manufacturing capacities. Reactor and fuel activities are supported by $38.5M in private investment, a five-year $53M DOE Cooperative Agreement for advanced reactor and TRISO fuel research, and a three-year Cooperative Agreement (funded to $10M) for design and license application development of a commercial TRISO-X HALEU fuel fabrication facility.