Annual report pursuant to Section 13 and 15(d)

Research and Development Expenses

Research and Development Expenses
12 Months Ended
Dec. 31, 2023
Research and Development Expenses  
Research and Development Expenses

Note 6. Research and Development Expenses


INL Project


In 2022, Lightbridge entered into agreements with BEA, to support the development of Lightbridge Fuel™. These framework agreements use an innovative structure that consists of an “umbrella” Strategic Partnership Project Agreement and an “umbrella” Cooperative Research and Development Agreement, with an initial duration of seven years. Throughout the duration of these umbrella agreements, all R&D work contracted with BEA is through the issuance of PTSs. The initial phase of work under the two agreements will culminate in irradiation testing in the Advanced Test Reactor (ATR) of fuel samples using enriched uranium supplied by the DOE. The initial phase of work aims to generate irradiation performance data for Lightbridge’s delta-phase uranium-zirconium alloy relating to various thermophysical properties. The data, which will be obtained during post-irradiation examination work, will support fuel performance modeling and regulatory licensing efforts for the commercial deployment of Lightbridge Fuel™. For the year ended December 31, 2023, the Company recorded $0.8 million in research and development expenses associated with INL.


Romania Feasibility Study


On October 16, 2023, the Company engaged RATEN ICN in Romania to perform an engineering study to assess the compatibility and suitability of Lightbridge Fuel™ for use in CANDU reactors. The total price of approximately $0.2 million is payable in three installments, including an advance payment of $0.1 million and an interim milestone payment and final payment totaling approximately $0.1 million. For the year ended December 31, 2023, the Company recorded $27,000 in research and development expenses associated with RATEN ICN.


Centrus Feed Study


On December 5, 2023, the Company entered into an agreement with Centrus Energy to conduct a FEED study to add a dedicated Lightbridge pilot fuel fabrication facility (LPFFF) at the American Centrifuge Plant in Piketon, Ohio. The work began in 2023 and is expected to be completed in 2024 at a cost of approximately $0.5 million. For the year ended December 31, 2023, the Company recorded $23,400 in research and development expenses associated with this FEED study.

DOE GAIN Voucher


On March 25, 2021, the Company was awarded a second voucher from the DOE’s GAIN program to support development of Lightbridge Fuel™ in collaboration with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). The scope of this project was to demonstrate Lightbridge’s nuclear fuel casting process using depleted uranium, a key step in the manufacture of Lightbridge Fuel™. The total project value was $0.7 million, with three-quarters of this amount expected to be paid by the DOE for the scope of work performed by PNNL and the remaining amount provided by Lightbridge, by providing in-kind services to the project. The PNNL GAIN voucher project was completed on January 31, 2023. For the years ended December 31, 2023 and 2022, the Company recorded $31,000 and $0.4 million of contributed services - research and development, respectively, for work that was completed that caused the DOE to incur payment obligations to its contractor related to the GAIN voucher. The Company recorded the corresponding amount as R&D expenses for the work that was completed by the DOE contractor.


The R&D services provided under the GAIN vouchers were utilized by the Company in its ongoing development of its next generation nuclear fuel technology. The Company believes that the amounts paid by the DOE to its contractor for the services provided do not differ materially from what the Company would have paid had it directly contracted for these services for its R&D activity.


Total R&D expenses, including internal costs and other outside R&D costs, for the years ended December 31, 2023 and 2022 were $1.9 million and $0.7 million, respectively.