IBC Advanced Alloys Corp. (“IBC” or the “Company”) reports that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (“MIT”) has completed its initial review and delivered a fuel performance report validating the feasibility of IBC’s patented beryllium oxide (“BeO”) nuclear fuel technology combined with Ceramic Tubular Products, LLC (“CTP”) silicon carbide cladding.
As reported in June 2012, IBC entered into a sponsored research agreement with MIT to analyze the performance of the BeO enhanced fuel and how it would perform with the addition of silicon carbide ("SiC) cladding.
IBC’s partnerships with CTP and MIT regarding a SiC based ceramic composite cladding complement IBC’s ongoing nuclear fuel R&D being conducted at Purdue and Texas A&M universities. The fuel performance report validates the characteristics of the fuel technology and further demonstrates how IBC’s BeO enhanced fuel, combined with CTP’s SiC cladding, could result in reduced fuel operating temperature and improve fuel operating characteristics leading to a safer and more accident tolerant fuel.
As a result of recent events in the nuclear industry, especially the well known issues at Fukushima in 2011, industry officials and governments are developing alternative strategies and increasingly reviewing the safety benefits of accident tolerant fuels. Because of this increasing industry awareness, the Company is in discussions with a number of potential nuclear industry partners, including Japanese fuel cycle suppliers, to explore and discuss the next phase of R&D including irradiation requirements and testing of the fuel in test reactors.
“We are very encouraged with the conclusions of the MIT fuel performance report about the beneficial characteristics and capability of the enhanced BeO fuel in combination with the SiC cladding technology”, said Jim Malone, IBC’s Vice President of Nuclear Fuel. “IBC is working diligently with Purdue, Texas A&M, CTP and and other industry participants to take the next step of a full irradiation trial in a test reactor to further understand and evaluate the advantages of BeO enhanced fuel as a next generation accident tolerant fuel.”
The IBC sponsored research at MIT is led by Dr. Mujid Kazimi, the MIT Tokyo Electric Power Company (“TEPCO”) Professor in Nuclear Engineering. Dr. Kazimi is also an MIT Professor of Mechanical Engineering and the Director of the Center for Advanced Nuclear Energy Systems (“CANES”). Dr. Kazimi is an expert on fuel performance, safety and power density with a substantial body of peer-reviewed publications as well as numerous academic awards and nuclear industry honors. In addition to his MIT responsibilities, Dr. Kazimi is also a member of the Nuclear Energy Advisory Committee at the US Department of Energy.
As previously reported, IBC has extended its research agreements with Purdue and Texas A&M, to advance its BeO nuclear fuels R&D until December 2013. IBC’s nuclear fuel program is focused on developing an accident tolerant high thermal conductivity BeO nuclear fuel for both current and future nuclear power reactors that is more efficient and safer than existing nuclear fuels. The project’s objective is to commercialize the intellectual property and to position IBC as an essential part of the nuclear industry’s supply chain.