BWX Technologies announced on Wednesday that the company has begun the process to restart its existing TRISO nuclear fuel production line and is planning to expand its existing capacity within the next year.
The expansion to BWXT's existing TRISO fuel production capability will position the company to meet emergent client interests in Department of Defense microreactors, space reactors, and civil advanced reactors.
“We are very interested in a number of promising applications for TRISO fuel,“ said Rex Geveden, BWXT president and CEO. “Given our long history of successful production and testing of this fuel type, we are extremely pleased to be ramping up this capability.“
BWXT is the only U.S. company to manufacture irradiation-tested uranium oxycarbide TRISO fuel using production-scale equipment. Its TRISO production facility is currently licensed to produce this type of High Assay Low Enriched Uranium (HALEU) fuel, which is undergoing validation in a series of experiments at Idaho National Laboratory at their Advanced Test Reactor under the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Advanced Gas-cooled Reactor program.
Over the next few months, BWXT will add additional equipment and staff to its existing facility to restart production. Within 24-32 months, the company will complete capacity upgrades to begin increased TRISO production to meet emerging customer needs.
In conjunction with its capacity upgrades, BWXT has plans to hire up to 60 additional workers to augment its existing experienced and trained TRISO fuel manufacturing team. Positions such as engineers, technicians, quality analysis specialists and others will need to be filled at its Lynchburg, Virginia facility, where the activity will be located.
Headquartered in Lynchburg, Va., BWX Technologies, Inc. (NYSE:BWXT) is a leading supplier of nuclear components and fuel to the U.S. government; provides technical and management services to support the U.S. government in the operation of complex facilities and environmental remediation activities; and supplies precision manufactured components, services and fuel for the commercial nuclear power industry. With approximately 6,350 employees, BWXT has 11 major operating sites in the U.S. and Canada.