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Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) announced on 13 April that it has fabricated Fully Ceramic Microencapsulated (FCM) fuel pellets, an advanced and proprietary reactor fuel designed by Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation (USNC) for their Micro Modular Reactor (MMR). The project was funded through the Canadian Nuclear Research Initiative (CNRI) and marks the first time that a Tristructural-Isotropic (TRISO) based fuel has been manufactured in Canada. The CNRI programme, launched in 2019, aims to help small modular reactor (SMR) vendors gain access to CNL expertise in order to help advance the development and commercialisation of their technologies.

Date: Friday, 16 April 2021
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Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) has fabricated proprietary advanced fuel pellets for Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation's (USNC) Micro Modular Reactor (MMR). This is the first time that a TRISO-based nuclear fuel has been manufactured in Canada.

Date: Thursday, 15 April 2021
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BWXT’s Toronto facility produces natural uranium dioxide pellets from uranium powder. Courtesy CNSC. Canada’s nuclear regulator has renewed the nuclear fuel facility licence held by BWXT Nuclear Energy Canada Inc (BWXT) for plants in Toronto and Peterborough, Ontario.

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission also decided to authorise the commercial production of fuel pellets at BWXT’s Peterborough facility.

BWXT, formerly known as GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy Canada Inc, will be allowed to produce fuel pellets at only one of its facilities at any time. Since pellet production is new to the Peterborough facility, BWXT will have to submit a final commissioning report to show its compliance with safety requirements before it can proceed with pellet production there.

CNSC said it had considered submissions from BWXT and 247 intervenors, as well as CNSC staff recommendations. BWXT applied for the renewals in 2018. The licences will be valid from 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2030.

Date: Wednesday, 23 December 2020
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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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Polish chemical giant wants to use the units at its European factories The MMR energy system mockup. Courtesy GFP/USNC Synthos Green Energy of Poland and US-based Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation have signed an agreement to assess the feasibility of using Ultra Safe’s 15-MW micro modular reactor (MMR) energy system to generate hydrogen, heat and power for use in Synthos’s chemical plants and for wider commercial use by various regional industrial manufacturing companies.

Synthos said the agreement is the latest step in its strategy to generate zero carbon emissions at its facilities. The MMR energy system will replace existing plants that use coal or natural gas. In developing the system, Ultra Safe is partnering with multiple, global industrial heavyweights including Hyundai Engineering.

The announcement follows the news last week that Synthos had begun discussions with Poland’s National Atomic Energy Agency (PAA) about a potential GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy BWRX-300 small modular reactor project. Synthos and GEH recently signed a cooperation agreement that is focused on development and deployment of the BWRX-300. In addition to GEH, Exelon Generation, Fortum and CMS Legal in Warsaw are supporting Synthos in this process.

Date: Thursday, 05 November 2020
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Company also pursuing plans for a unit in Canada Modules will be sized for shipping containers, which means they can be transported easily by ship, rail or road. Courtesy Ultra Safe. Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation in Seattle is pursuing funding from the US Department of Energy’s advanced reactor demonstration programme to host its 15-MW micro modular reactors (MMR) at the University of Illinois and the Idaho National Laboratory.

The project includes a single MMR at the university for training, research, and to supply heat and power to the campus. The university plans to develop the first generation of commercial microreactor operators and will be directly involved in MMR design and integration.

The plant at INL would support the demonstration of the laboratory’s energy systems research, including the carbon-free production of hydrogen by thermo-chemical processes and other zero-carbon energy applications well suited to the high temperature output of the MMR.

Ultra Safe said both plants could be operating by 2026. It said demonstration of the MMR technology in the US will bring a new level of affordability and reliability to clean power generation, where smaller nuclear plants can be deployed for tens of millions, not billions of dollars. Costs of micro nuclear technology, like renewable energy, are expected to drop rapidly as manufacturing techniques advance and smaller and safer nuclear reactors gain wider acceptance, the company said.

Date: Tuesday, 20 October 2020
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Teams led by TerraPower and X-energy have been announced as the recipients of USD160 million in initial funding under the US Department of Energy's (DOE) Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program (ARDP). The companies get USD80 million each to build a demonstration plant that can be operational within seven years.

Date: Thursday, 15 October 2020
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Terrestrial Energy is proposing to build a 195-MW IMSR at Chalk River in Canada. Courtesy Terrestrial Energy. Terrestrial Energy and Centrus Energy have signed a memorandum of understanding to secure fuel supply for a future fleet of Generation IV Integral Molten Salt Reactor (IMSR) power plants.

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.

Date: Wednesday, 14 October 2020
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Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) has announced a collaboration agreement with US-based Kairos Power, which is working to develop and license fluoride salt-cooled small modular reactor (SMR) technology. The agreement is funded through CNL's Canadian Nuclear Research Initiative (CNRI) programme and will cover research and engineering of technologies to separate, analyse and store tritium generated through the reactor's operation.

Date: Saturday, 05 September 2020
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US-based Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation (USNC) has established a new facility in Salt Lake City to support the development of the company's proprietary Fully Ceramic Micro-encapsulated (FCM) fuel.

Date: Friday, 04 September 2020
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