BWX Technologies has signed a $26-million, 20-month contract to expand and upgrade its TRISO fuel manufacturing line. The recently announced deal, awarded by Idaho National Laboratory, calls for the expansion of BWXT’s capacity for the manufacture of TRISO fuel compacts and the upgrading of existing systems for delivering production-scale quantities of TRISO fuel.
What the deal means: BWXT said that it anticipates potential awards for additional contract options that would enable the fabrication and delivery of TRISO fuel in support of future missions for the Department of Defense and NASA. This project is an effort jointly funded by the DoD’s Operational Energy Capabilities Improvement Fund Office and NASA, with overall program management provided by the Strategic Capabilities Office.
What TRISO is: 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 refers to the coatings having uniform materials characteristics in all directions so that fission products are essentially retained.
What they’re saying: “This contract award is another in a string of recent announcements at BWXT related to our unique ability to manufacture TRISO fuel at scale for both government and commercial customers,” said Rex Geveden, BWXT’s president and chief executive officer. “We plan to continue to leverage our capabilities for growth, given the outlook we see for this and other specialty nuclear fuel types for Department of Energy and NASA programs, as well as emerging commercial customers.”