USNC reveal fuel technology breakthrough

3 August 2023

Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation (USNC), has announced updates to the design of its Gen IV gas-cooled microreactor with fuel developments with a tripling of power output. The company’s flagship Micro-Modular Reactor (MMR) can operate at various power levels from 10 MWt (3.3 MWe) to 45 MWt (15 MWe) and can work with either HALEU (19.75% enrichment) or LEU+ (9.9% enrichment).

Demonstrating novel 3-D printing technologies and advanced manufacturing of its patented Fully Ceramic Microencapsulated (FCM) fuel, USNC says these technologies now allow the flexibility to produce unique geometry FCM fuel pellets which encase TRISO particles in silicon carbide, ensuring that the helium coolant remains free from contamination. This advancement reduces thermal stresses on the fuel and enables increases in the output temperature and power of the MMR, USNC says.

The MMR is designed to supply industrial processes with higher heat and power demands as well as remote applications. USNC is in pre-licensing engagement with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in the U.S. and with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) in Canada through the Global First Power (GFP) joint venture with Ontario Power Generation. 

“Making these important changes now brings focus to USNC resources and ensures our demonstrations will be the same design as our commercial deployments, increasing their relevance,” said Dan Stout, CNO of USNC. “It is worth some near-term schedule impact for the flexibility and a 300% power uprate.”

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