X-energy receives federal tax credit for TRISO fuel facility

April 24, 2024, 3:12PMNuclear News
A rendering the X-energy fuel fabrication facility planned for construction in Oak Ridge, Tenn. (Source: X-energy)

Advanced reactor company X-energy has been awarded $148.5 million in tax credits under the Inflation Reduction Act for construction of its TRISO-X fuel fabrication facility in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

The funding is part of an advanced nuclear project tax credit jointly administered by the Department of Energy, the Treasury, and the Internal Revenue Service. Congress passed the massive clean energy investment legislation in 2022. While not a direct grant to the project, the tax credit helps offset the costs of constructing and operating the facility.

“This award is not just an investment in our technology and innovations, it’s a massive step forward for building the supply chain to advance the next generation of nuclear energy,” said X-energy CEO J. Clay Sell. “Strengthening energy security here and around the world requires expanding secure, domestic manufacturing capabilities across the energy sector.”

The project: TRISO-X, a subsidiary of X-energy, is the company’s proprietary version of tristructural isotropic particle fuel, which has been in development for years. The fuel-pebble fuel are designed to withstand very high temperatures without melting, and the DOE, in a 2019 informational article updated in 2023, called TRISO “the most robust nuclear fuel on Earth.”

The planned $300 million, 215,000-square-foot TRISO-X fuel production facility, dubbed the TX-1 project, would produce 714,000 pebbles per year and create approximately 400 permanent jobs and 475 construction jobs during development. The company acquired the land, formerly part of Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s footprint, from the Oak Ridge Industrial Development Board in 2022.

TRISO-X submitted its 40-year license application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 2022, and it was accepted for review by the NRC that same year. That process is now 45 percent complete, according to the NRC.

Construction of the facility is expected to begin later this year, and operations would start by late 2027, according to X-energy.

End user: X-energy plans to use the TRISO-X fuel at its advanced reactor planned for a Dow Chemical industrial site on the Texas Gulf Coast. With funding from the DOE’s Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program, X-energy is building the grid-scale advanced reactor to provide both electricity and heat to Dow’s production facility. The reactor is expected to come on line in 2028.

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