Terrestrial Energy and Orano sign fuel supply agreement

30 September 2021

IMSR400 Photo credit: Terrestrial EnergyCanada-based Terrestrial Energy said on 29 September that it had entered into an agreement with Orano, as part of its fuel supply programme for operation of its Generation IV Integral Molten Salt Reactor (IMSR).

The agreement’s broad scope of services includes uranium enrichment, chemical conversion to IMSR  fuel form, its production, transportation, packaging, and logistics. This scope covers analysis for full-scale commercial production and supply of IMSR  fuel and applies to major markets for IMSR  power plant deployment today, including Canada, the USA, the UK, and Japan.

This agreement is part of Terrestrial Energy’s multiple-sourcing strategy for IMSR fuel supply and reflects Orano’s intention to support next-generation reactor commercialisation with its broad range of fuel services. The relationship between the companies is non-exclusive and allows both parties to pursue other similar business opportunities in the nuclear industry.

“This agreement with Terrestrial Energy applies the global fuel supply scope and experience of Orano to focus on powering the next generation of innovative, clean-air nuclear energy in Canada,” said Amir Vexler, President and CEO of Orano USA. “Our North America team is proud to play an integral role in making this connection and fulfilling the agreement.”

“Utility requirements for fuel supply extend beyond enrichment of uranium to a range of essential services that together provide secure supply of reactor fuel to power plant gate,” said Terrestrial Energy CEO Simon Irish. “The scope of our agreement covers that full range from enrichment, production, with its transport elements, including packaging and logistics, for comprehensive commercial supply. This range of services is essential for first IMSR power plant operations as early as 2028.”

IMSR fuel uses standard assay low enriched uranium (LEU), which has become the commercial fuel standard over many decades of power plant operation.  

The previous day,  Terrestrial Energy announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Saskatoon-based First Nations Power Authority (FNPA), the only North-American, non-profit, Indigenous owned and controlled organisation developing power projects with Indigenous communities. Terrestrial Energy has become a member of the FNPA, and will explore the development of SMR technologies with the organisation for the benefit of Indigenous communities in Canada.

“The Canadian nuclear energy industry recognises the importance of early engagement with all the communities involved in the long life-cycle operations of a nuclear power plant, and that is particularly true for Canada’s many Indigenous communities,” said Simon Irish. “The FNPA will advise Terrestrial Energy and its Canadian operations as it engages and consults with these communities on the ecological, environmental, and economic value of Integral Molten Salt Reactor power plant deployment, and we value the FNPA’s involvement.”

The 400MWt (190MWe) IMSR power plant operates at high temperatures (600°C) and is 50% more efficient than traditional reactors. It uses a graphite moderator, and standard assay low-enriched uranium fuel with the same level of enrichment (less than 5% U-235) as in conventional nuclear plants.

Photo: Terrestrial Energy's IMSR power plant (Photo credit: Terrestrial Energy)


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