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US-based BWX Technologies (BWXT) announced that its BWXT Nuclear Operations Group subsidiary has completed its TRIstructural-ISOtropic (TRISO) nuclear fuel line restart project and is producing fuel at its Lynchburg facility in Virginia.

Date: Friday, 13 November 2020
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A design concept for a nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) reactor to power future astronaut missions to Mars has exceeded key performance parameters and optimised the reactor for manufacturability, General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) has announced. The reactor's features include a compact core thanks to the use of high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) fuel.

Date: Friday, 18 September 2020
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The design was produced as part of a NASA-funded study Image courtesy General Atomics US-based General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) has delivered a design concept for a nuclear thermal propulsion reactor to power future astronaut missions to Mars.

The design was produced as part of a NASA-funded study. GA-EMS said its design exceeded the key performance parameters requested by NASA.

The reactor concept incorporates advancements in modern nuclear materials and manufacturing methods with experience from GA-EMS’s involvement on NASA Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) Project Rover in the 1960s. Project Rover was one of the first programmes to demonstrate the feasibility of space-based nuclear thermal propulsion.

GA fabricated approximately six tonnes of the nuclear fuel kernels for the project. In 1965, the company was also directly involved in nuclear fuel testing and characterisation for the SNAP-10A reactor, the only US nuclear power reactor launched into space, which powered the satellite for 43 days. The fuel used for that reactor is the same fuel that has been used since the 1950s in General Atomics Triga reactors.

Date: Wednesday, 16 September 2020
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A cross-section of a Triso fuel pellet. Photo courtesy Idaho National Laboratory. Idaho National Laboratory has awarded the nuclear operations subsidiary of US-based BWX Technologies a contract to expand and upgrade its Triso nuclear fuel manufacturing line.

The $26m contract will expand BWXT’s Triso capacity for the manufacture of Triso fuel compacts and upgrade existing systems for delivering production-scale quantities of Triso fuel.

Triso refers to a specific design of uranium nuclear reactor fuel. Triso is a shortened form of the term Tristructural-Isotropic. Tristructural refers to the layers of coatings surrounding the uranium fuel, and isotropic to the coatings having uniform materials characteristics in all directions so that fission products are essentially retained.

BWXT said it is the only US company to manufacture irradiation-tested uranium oxycarbide Triso fuel using production-scale equipment. Its Triso production facility is licensed to produce this type of high assay low enriched uranium (Haleu) fuel, which is undergoing validation in a series of experiments at Idaho National Laboratory’s advanced test reactor under the Department of Energy’s advanced gas-cooled reactor programme.

Date: Saturday, 04 July 2020
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US-based BWX Technologies (BWXT) announced on 1 July that its Nuclear Operations Group subsidiary has been awarded a competitively bid contract by the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) to expand and upgrade its TRIstructural-ISOtropic  (TRISO) nuclear fuel manufacturing line.

Date: Friday, 03 July 2020
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US-based BWX Technologies (BWXT) announced that its TRISO nuclear fuel manufacturing restart activities are continuing to progress ahead of schedule.

Date: Friday, 24 April 2020
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Restart activities at BWX Technologies Inc's (BWXT) TRISO fuel manufacturing facility in Lynchburg, Virginia are progressing ahead of schedule, the company said yesterday. It has completed the demonstration of the fuel kernel sintering process and plans to bring two additional furnaces online to meet projected production demand before restart activities are complete.

Date: Thursday, 23 April 2020
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US nuclear reactor startup Transatomic Power announced on 25 September that it is shutting down operations, after deciding that it can see no viable path to bringing its molten salt reactor designs to scale. However, it still wants its technology to play a role in the future of advanced nuclear reactors. Transatomic’s CEO and co-founder Leslie Dewan, noted: “We haven’t been able to scale up the company rapidly enough to build our reactor in a reasonable timeframe. It is therefore with a heavy heart that I must announce that Transatomic is suspending operations.” He added that the company will be “open-sourcing our intellectual property, making it available for any researchers — private, public or nonprofit — who want to continue the work we’ve started.”

Date: Tuesday, 02 October 2018
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Transatomic Power Corporation has released technical information on the design of its molten salt reactor (MSR), which it says offers multiple advantages over existing generation technologies.

Date: Friday, 08 July 2016
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The UK Department of Energy & Climate Change has a problem with the world’s largest stocks of reactor-grade plutonium. The international association Environmentalists for Nuclear Energy view this as a one-time opportunity to benefit several advanced nuclear energy developments, none of which are acknowledged by DECC. By Brendan McNamara

Weak, short distance radiation makes it warm; so it is safe to hold but not to swallow. UK reactor grade plutonium is unsuitable for making weapons. And small-scale uses of UK plutonium could never go critical

Date: Friday, 27 May 2011
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