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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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Fiscal 2021 allocations released yesterday by the US Senate Committee on Appropriations include USD150 million to initiate the uranium reserve programme to address challenges to the production of domestic uranium. The bills provide appropriations for the fiscal year running from 1 October, 2020 to 30 September, 2021 and also include continued funding for the Advanced Reactors Demonstration Program.

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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The Doel nuclear power station in Belgium. Westinghouse Electric Company of the US and Spain-based Enusa Industrias Avanzadas announced the installation of EnCore fuel at Engie Electrabel’s Doel-4 nuclear power plant in Belgium.

Westinghouse said this installation marks the first insertion of EnCore Fuel rod assemblies in Europe, and the second insertion into a commercial nuclear power plant worldwide.

“The insertion of EnCore Fuel at the Doel plant is a significant milestone for our accident tolerant fuel prograemme,” said Tarik Choho, Westinghouse president of EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) operating plant services. “This installation is part of the successful deployment of EnCore Fuel to the global nuclear energy industry.”

The lead test assemblies (LTAs) were manufactured and delivered under an agreement between Westinghouse and Enusa, which was signed in 2018 to allow for collaboration on the advancement of the EnCore Fuel programme at Westinghouse.

Date: Friday, 11 September 2020
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Lead test assemblies of EnCore accident tolerant fuel (ATF) have been installed in Engie Electrabel's Doel unit 4 in Belgium, Westinghouse Electric Company and ENUSA Industrias Avanzadas (ENUSA) have announced. Doel 4 is the second commercial nuclear power plant in the world, and the first in Europe, into which EnCore assemblies have been installed.

Date: Thursday, 10 September 2020
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New fuel type is seen as crucial for next generation reactors US energy secretary Dan Brouillette . Courtesy DOE. The US Department of Energy is working to end US reliance on Russia for nuclear fuel and plans to begin processing US uranium into high-grade fuel at a DOE facility in Portsmouth, Ohio, as early as next year, energy secretary Dan Brouillette told members of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy.

The “high-assay low-enriched uranium”, or Haleu fuel, is particularly important for new and smaller commercial reactors that the DOE considers critical to grid stability as renewables replace aging fossil fuel power plants, Mr Brouillette said.

He told lawmakers the DOE has moved centrifuges from its Oak Ridge laboratories to a mothballed uranium processing plant built in the 1950s at Portsmouth, Ohio, and expects to begin processing to produce Haleu next year.

In addition, the DOE is working on legislation authorising the creation of a uranium reserve.

Date: Friday, 24 July 2020
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The US Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Environmental Management (EM) has awarded a set of Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity contracts to provide US-wide Deactivation, Decommissioning and Removal (DD&R) services “to help address excess facilities”.

Date: Friday, 10 July 2020
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The US Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management has awarded multiple contracts to provide nationwide deactivation, decommissioning and removal (DD&R) services at "excess" facilities across the EM complex.

Date: Wednesday, 08 July 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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