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Companies say commercial agreement is first of kind Ultra Safe said its USNC MMR will deliver cost-effective electricity and process heat to users anywhere. Courtesy Ultra Safe. Urenco USA will supply enriched uranium to Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation to manufacture fuel for its micro-modular reactor (MMR).

Ultra Safe said the agreement marks the first commercial supply of enriched uranium product (EUP) for use in an advanced nuclear reactor in the world.

Ultra Safe said it will buy enriched EUP from Urenco USA for use in the manufacture of tri-structural isotropic (Triso) particles and fully ceramic micro-encapsulated (FCM) fuel via Ultra Safe’s planned joint venture with Framatome in the US.

The EUP will be produced and supplied by the Urenco USA uranium enrichment facility in New Mexico.

Kurt Terrani, executive vice-president at Ultra Safe said the company has been working hard to manage and de-risk the front end of our fuel cycle.

“With others facing so much uncertainty regarding fuel supply, it is vital to have reliable commercial partners to source, transport, and deconvert our EUP, feeding our fuel factory operations,” he said.

The first batch of EUP is slated for delivery to the Ultra Safe-Framatome fuel manufacturing joint venture in 2025, coinciding with the start of their Triso and FCM fuel factory operations at Oak Ridge, Tennessee. This fuel production capacity will be used to fuel Ultra Safe’s MMR deployments with “some availability to the wider advanced reactor market”.

Bringing Gen IV Fuel To Market

In January Ultra Safe and Framatome signed an agreement to form a joint venture to bring Generation IV nuclear fuel to market for the MMR and other advanced nuclear power plant designs.

The partnership followed the opening of Ultra Safe’s pilot fuel manufacturing facility at Oak Ridge in August, the first and only privately funded facility in the US to manufacture Triso particles.

Triso fuel particles contain a spherical kernel of enriched uranium oxycarbide surrounded by layers of carbon and silicon carbide, which contains fission products.

FCM fuel is essentially Triso fuel encased within a fully dense silicon carbide matrix. This combination provides an extremely rugged and stable fuel with extraordinary high temperature stability.

Ultra Safe said its MMR, which is being licensed in Canada and the US, will deliver cost-effective electricity and process heat to users anywhere.

Ultra Safe said MMR deployments are moving forward, including projects at Chalk River which is on target for first power in 2026, and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, targeted for first power the following year.

Date: Saturday, 04 March 2023
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