Feb 19 2011
IBC Advanced Alloys Corp. (TSX VENTURE:IB) ("IBC" or the "Company") announces that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (the "MOU") with Global Nuclear Fuel America ("GNF-A") to improve the efficiency of nuclear fuel by adding Beryllium Oxide.
Based in Wilmington, N.C., GNF is a GE (NYSE:GE) joint venture with Hitachi Ltd. and Toshiba Corporation. GNF is the nuclear industry's leading fabricator and supplier of Boiling Water Reactors ("BWR") fuel and services. The IBC sponsored R&D initiative is led by Purdue and Texas A&M universities.
"We are excited to work with IBC to help evaluate this innovative advanced oxide process to enhance the thermal performance of our BWR fuel, which in turn would result in fuel cycle benefits for plant operators," said Nicole Holmes, President and CEO of GNF. "The potential benefits of the improved thermal conductivity fuel include lower operating temperatures for the fuel while delivering the same energy to the reactor system. "The bottom line," continued Holmes, "is that GNF is committed to developing innovative new technologies to improve our fuel performance resulting in important benefits for our utility customers."
Under the terms of the MOU, the parties have agreed to jointly complete an industry study on the application of the beryllium oxide technology to BWR fuel. The new MOU calls for GNF to assist in study completion by applying the advanced oxide process to uranium fuel pellets produced by GNF's Wilmington fuel fabrication plant. Central to the project will be IBC's patent pending technology for the use of BeO to improve the thermal conductivity of BWR fuel. This technology is currently being developed at Purdue and Texas A&M universities under an IBC sponsored research program.
"IBC Advanced Alloys Corp. is pleased to sign this agreement with GNF-A and to support a technology with so much potential," said Anthony Dutton, President and CEO of IBC. "The initial work conducted at Purdue University for IBC, augmented by the work at Texas A&M, provided IBC with encouraging data. IBC used the information to present the technology to GNF-A and GNF has provided useful feedback and suggestions for further research. This agreement," continued Dutton, "reinforces IBC's dedication to strengthening its R&D portfolio and to working with leading companies to develop and promote emerging technologies, particularly in the energy sector."
GNF provides nuclear fuel to BWRs globally, and continues to advance their technology to meet the challenges posed by the high performance of today's power reactors. The application of the BeO technology to GNF-A fuel will be another advance in GNF-A's drive for continuous improvement.