Lightbridge is developing two fuel product families for power uprates in existing and new build reactors:
Power uprates are a common practice in the commercial nuclear power industry and represent an efficient use of capital as the cost per kilowatt-hour of an uprate is several times lower than that of building a new plant. Lightbridge’s metallic fuel is capable of safely providing up to 30% more power in pressurized water reactors. It is anticipated that similar benefits will be attainable in other light water reactors, including boiling water reactors as well as small modular reactors.
The flexibility of Lightbridge’s metal fuel technology allows the utility to determine the level of power uprate most effective for their facility. Depending on the level of uprate desired, various power plant system upgrades will be required. Lightbridge’s initial analyses suggest that uprates above ~20% will likely only be achievable for new build reactor units where the nuclear power plant owner would pay a small incremental capital cost for the necessary reactor equipment upgrades rather than paying the replacement and disposal costs of upgrading components in an existing plant.
Lightbridge’s metal fuel technology can provide up to 30% power generation increase in pressurized water reactors. As a result, the initial capital cost per megawatt and the annual operations and maintenance costs per kilowatt-hour, which typically account for over four-fifths of the total cost of nuclear power generation, are expected to be reduced.