Lightbridge, Centrus to conduct study for pilot fuel fabrication plant

December 8, 2023, 9:32AMNuclear News

Signing CEOs: Centrus’s Daniel Poneman, left, and Lightbridge’s Seth Grae. (Photo: Lightbridge/X)

Nuclear fuel companies Lightbridge Corporation and Centrus Energy have announced a contract to conduct a front-end engineering and design (FEED) study to add a dedicated Lightbridge Pilot Fuel Fabrication Facility (LPFFF) at Centrus’s American Centrifuge Plant in Piketon, Ohio.

Lightbridge chief executive officer Seth Grae and Centrus CEO Daniel Poneman inked the agreement yesterday at the COP28 conference, currently underway in the United Arab Emirates.

The FEED study, according to the joint announcement, will identify infrastructure and licensing requirements as well as the estimated cost and construction schedule for the LPFFF. Centrus’s wholly owned subsidiary, American Centrifuge Operating, will lead the study, which is expected to be completed sometime next year.

Signers’ language: “This agreement with Centrus marks a landmark moment for Lightbridge, as we take concrete steps toward establishing a pilot-scale facility to manufacture Lightbridge Fuel,” stated Grae. “This facility will be instrumental in paving the way for cleaner, safer, and more efficient nuclear energy by bringing HALEU to existing reactors as well as to new reactors, large and small. At COP28, the United States joined other countries in pledging to triple nuclear power globally by 2050. We expect the added power produced by reactors upgraded with Lightbridge fuel—and new small reactors powered by our fuel—to be key to meeting that goal. We are thrilled to partner with Centrus, leveraging their deep expertise and infrastructure to bring this vision to life.”

Poneman said, “Centrus is proud to join forces with Lightbridge to work toward creating HALEU-based fuels that have the potential to power both existing as well as new reactors. Our plant in Ohio is the only HALEU production plant in the world outside of Russia and would be an ideal site for Lightbridge’s proposed facility. Since Lightbridge fuel has the potential to bring HALEU and its benefits to the existing fleet of reactors, this partnership holds the potential to significantly expand the market for HALEU.”

In case you missed it: Centrus and the Department of Energy announced on November 7 that Centrus has produced 20 kilograms of HALEU at the Piketon site, satisfying Phase One of a DOE contract to stand up and operate 16 advanced centrifuges. Centrus now moves on to Phase Two of the contract, which requires a full year of HALEU production at a rate of 900 kilograms per year.

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