US-based BWX Technologies (BWXT) announced on 11 March that its BWXT Nuclear Operations Group (BWXT NOG) subsidiary had been awarded $35 million in contracts under two separate programmes – uranium recovery and conversion as well as construction of a new research reactor fuel line.
The US Naval Nuclear Propulsion Programme has awarded BWXT NOG a $17.4 million contract for uranium recovery and conversion. An additional option is expected to be awarded later this year. This contract funds the recovery of valuable uranium from scrap, waste and unused product to be converted into fuel to feed future Naval Nuclear Propulsion Programme products. BWXT owns the only two Category 1 nuclear facilities licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to store and process highly enriched uranium. This work began at the BWXT NOG facility in Lynchburg, Virginia in January 2021 and is expected to be completed by June 2022.
The US Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) awarded a $17.9 million contract to BWXT NOG to complete the second phase of the construction of a new research reactor fuel line BWXT had previously announced. The contract funds the repurposing of a portion of the Lynchburg uranium processing facility to be used to manufacture uranium-molybdenum alloy High Assay Low Enriched Uranium (U-Mo HALEU) fuel. This fuel will facilitate conversion of high-performance U.S. research reactors that currently use high enriched uranium. The NNSA has encouraged the conversion of research reactors and medical isotope production facilities from the use of high enriched uranium to reduce the risk of the fuel being diverted for nefarious purposes.