The two companies will evaluate the logistical, regulatory, and transportation requirements to establish fuel supply for the plants, which use standard-assay low-enriched uranium (LEU).
Standard-assay LEU has an enrichment level of less than 5% uranium-235 and is the current industry standard for commercial nuclear plants. The fact that IMSR plants are designed to use standard-assay LEU fuel provides important advantages for rapid commercial deployment, Terrestrial Energy said.
Centrus Energy is a supplier of nuclear fuel and services to the nuclear power industry. In addition to uranium enrichment and standard-assay LEU supply, Centrus Energy has expertise in the design and licensing of packaging for nuclear fuel transportation. As part of a programme to establish a supply chain for IMSR fuel, the companies will study the regulatory requirements for transportation from the fuel fabrication facility to the plant. They will also evaluate packaging options for fuel shipment.
In December 2019 the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission chose the IMSR for the first joint technical review of an advanced, non-light-water nuclear reactor technology.
Terrestrial Energy, established in 2013, is proposing to build a 195-MW IMSR at Chalk River in Canada. It wants to commission the first IMSR power plants in the late 2020s.
The IMSR is said to be 50% more efficient than traditional reactors and suited for deployment in remote communities and industrial operations, including on-grid and off-grid power provision.
Terrestrial Energy said IMSR plants can be built in four years and produce electricity or industrial heat at prices competitive with fossil fuels while emitting no greenhouse gases.