Fuel Technology

Narrated by Dr. Sweta Chakraborty, Independent Director

Safe, Economical and Proliferation-resistant Technology

Lightbridge: Pioneering Advanced Nuclear Fuel

Lightbridge Corporation is developing next-generation nuclear fuel technology, Lightbridge Fuel™, to improve the economics, safety, and proliferation resistance of existing and new reactors. Our primary focus is on new metallic fuel rods that we believe are significantly more economical and safer than traditional fuel.

Using Lightbridge Fuel™ results in a lower reactor operating temperature and we believe, adds incremental electricity at a lower cost than any other means of generating baseload electric power.

Three Variants of Lightbridge Fuel


Power uprate and increased time between refueling outages for existing pressurized water reactors (from 18 to 24 months).


Power uprate without increasing time between refueling outages for existing pressurized water reactors.


Power uprate without increasing time between refueling outages for new build pressurized water reactors.

How We Design Safer Fuel

How We Design Safer Fuel

In every stage of its design and its operation, Lightbridge Fuel™ is a pioneering new technology that raises the bar for performance and safety when it comes to nuclear energy.


Lightbridge Fuel™ has three components that are metallurgically bonded during the fabrication process. The bonding improves fuel rod integrity, thermal conductivity and eliminates a source of fission product release in the event of a bonded barrier breach. Importantly, this reduces potential radiation exposure for plant workers


Lightbridge Fuel™ has a helical multi-lobe fuel rod which increases fuel surface area. At the same time, it reduces the distance it takes heat generated in the fuel rod to reach water, improving fuel coolability. Swelling occurs primarily in the valleys between the lobes to maintain the fuel rod diameter.


  • The displacer contains burnable poison alloys for neutronics control.
  • The fuel core is uranium zirconium alloy with high thermal conductivity and low irradiation-induced swelling.
  • The metallurgically bonded barrier consists of corrosion-resistant zirconium-niobium alloy with variable thickness to increase protection at the lobe tips.


Lightbridge Fuel™ has a low fuel operating temperature. Fission products behave like solids and remain where they are created. During design basis events, no fission products release.

Key Benefits


Our more efficient fuel design allows existing and new reactors to operate at significantly lower temperatures while extracting more heat from the fuel core and delivering greater electricity output. Using Lightbridge Fuel™, nuclear plants could greatly improve their economics. Existing pressurized water reactors can achieve 10% power uprates and extend their fuel cycles from 18 to 24 months.


In the center of Lightbridge Fuel™ rods, the temperature is over 1,000 °C cooler than that of standard nuclear fuel. With 35% more fuel surface area, there is considerably more margin to fuel failure. With reduced fuel operating temperature, more active cooling time and better structural integrity, Lightbridge Fuel™ also doesn’t generate hydrogen gas under design basis accidents and it improves non-proliferation.


Using Lightbridge Fuel™, U.S. nuclear plant operators could expect significant internal rates of return after incremental nuclear fuel costs and royalties.


Our initial fuel enrichment is 15-20%, making it the lowest strategic value for proliferation potential. Lightbridge Fuel™ contains significantly less plutonium than conventional uranium oxide fuel and consumes more uranium during its operating cycle. Any plutonium in our spent fuel is “useless” for nuclear weapons, according to an April 2018 issue of Nuclear Engineering and Design.

Only Safer, More Economical Nuclear Energy Can Scale

The World Depends on Nuclear Energy

The global population and its energy needs climb every year. Meanwhile, the climate is a growing concern. The world’s energy and climate demands can only be met if nuclear energy becomes a bigger part of the energy-generating mix.

Our transformational fuel technology can meet rising energy needs. Our fuel design increases safety and capacity while reducing carbon emissions and operator costs.

Generating Sources: How Cost and CO2 Emissions Compare