Preliminary design of TRISO-X fuel facility completed

November 4, 2021, 9:30AMNuclear News

X-energy and Centrus Energy Corporation yesterday announced the completion of the preliminary design for X-energy’s TRISO-X Fuel Fabrication Facility, plus the signing of a contract for Centrus to continue its work as the project enters its next phase.

In March 2018, X-energy contracted with Centrus to support the proposed facility’s preliminary design work, including nuclear criticality safety analysis, manufacturing equipment layout and infrastructure design, and conceptual development of fuel transport packages. The companies had signed a memorandum of understanding the previous year to collaborate on the production of fuel for advanced nuclear reactors.

The plant: The TRISO-X facility will wrap high-assay low-uranium (HALEU)–bearing kernels of oxide and carbide in alternating layers of pyrolytic carbon and silicon carbide, creating a self-contained, meltdown-proof fuel, according to Centrus.

The facility is being designed to support the deployment of X-energy’s flagship XE-100 small modular reactor plant in Washington State by 2027 under an award from the Department of Energy’s Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program (ARDP). The facility will also be capable of supporting other Xe-100 sites and a variety of customers needing other forms of TRISO fuel.

What they’re saying: “Completion of preliminary design is a key step in our commercialization efforts toward a first-of-a-kind NRC-regulated Category II facility capable of handling high-assay low-enriched uranium for the coming fleet of advanced reactors,” said Pete Pappano, president of TRISO-X, the X-energy subsidiary formed earlier this year to commercialize the company’s advanced nuclear fuel.

Larry Cutlip, president of American Centrifuge Operating, a Centrus subsidiary, commented, “Centrus is pleased to be part of X-energy’s team in designing and developing this next-generation fuel fabrication facility. We greatly value this partnership and look forward to continuing this important work to bring TRISO-X fuel to market.”

In case you missed it: In October 2020, the DOE put X-energy’s Xe-100 and TerraPower’s Natrium reactor on a fast track to commercialization via an initial $80 million in 50-50 cost-shared funds awarded through the ARDP.

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