“Lightbridge has achieved a significant milestone under our strategic partnership project agreement at Idaho National Laboratory (INL),” said Lightbridge Corporation President and CEO Seth Grae. INL has demonstrated the production of a partial-length rod sample using an alloy of depleted uranium and zirconium. INL and Lightbridge will work together to analyse the extruded rod to confirm the extrusion process parameters prior to performing additional extrusions using an alloy of depleted uranium and zirconium materials later this year. “Next year, we plan to produce coupon samples for irradiation testing in the Advanced Test Reactor at INL using an alloy of enriched uranium and zirconium,” Grae noted. The extrusion process involves pressing a metallic alloy billet through a die.

“Our advancement in nuclear fuel brings great potential towards extending the operational life of the fuel in reactors and introducing substantial safety benefits for today’s reactors and for the emerging small modular reactors (SMRs) globally,” he said. “We are also designing the fuel to enable adjustment of power output of SMRs in response to fluctuations in supply by wind and solar generation, for a zero-carbon electric grid.”