TYSONS CORNER, Va., Feb. 22, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Lightbridge Corporation (NASDAQ: LTBR), a leading innovator of next generation nuclear fuel designs and provider of nuclear energy consulting services to commercial and governmental organizations, today provided a business update on the progress of its nuclear fuel technology and consulting operations and reported financial results for the quarter and year ended December 31, 2011.
"We are encouraged by the steady advances during the quarter and throughout 2011 in the development of Lightbridge's fuel technology," said Seth Grae, Lightbridge President and Chief Executive Officer. "Moreover, nuclear utility industry interest continues to grow in the benefits of our patented advanced fuel designs. Ongoing demonstrations remain on track and continue to support the indicated benefits of meaningful power uprates, longer fuel cycles and increased safety. In 2012, we expect to complete fabrication of semi-scale fuel samples for irradiation testing. We believe we can complete a demonstration of full-scale, metallic fuel rod fabrication in 2013 and begin lead test assembly operation in a full-size commercial light water reactor by the end of 2017."
2011 Business Update
"Measureable progress continues at Lightbridge," Mr. Grae said. Here are summaries of key developments during the fourth quarter and full year 2011:
- Negotiations began with a U.S. fuel fabrication partner relating to metal fuel fabrication process development and demonstration work in the United States. Negotiations are expected to conclude later in 2012.
- During the quarter, detailed experiment design began for irradiation testing of Lightbridge-designed metallic fuel samples in the Advanced Test Reactor at Idaho National Laboratory (INL), the U.S. Department of Energy's lead nuclear energy research and development facility. This detailed analysis is expected to provide input into a 2012 safety analysis report necessary for the irradiation experiments. Earlier in 2011, INL concluded that skipping capsule irradiation testing and going directly to irradiation testing with direct fuel-coolant contact is feasible.
- A Nuclear Utility Fuel Advisory Board (NUFAB) was established to further strengthen the Company's dialogue with global nuclear utilities, consistent with U.S. export control laws, and provide their input into Lightbridge nuclear fuel development and commercialization efforts. Initial NUFAB members include top nuclear fuel managers from Exelon, Duke Energy, Dominion, and Southern Company.
- Planning and preparation began for loop irradiation testing of Lightbridge-designed fuel samples in the MIR research reactor at the Research Institute of Atomic Reactors (RIAR) in Dimitrovgrad, Russia. During the first half of 2012, negotiations of a specific agreement for the testing are expected to begin.
- A technical paper on Lightbridge metallic fuel technology and its application in pressurized water reactors was prepared and submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. The article, which is expected to be published at about the end of the third quarter of 2012, discusses how the Company's fuel technology could improve fuel performance.
- The Company's portfolio of patented intellectual property continues to expand. In the quarter, Lightbridge received a notice of allowance from the Ukrainian patent office for a patent application covering a thorium-based seed and blanket fuel assembly design for Russian-type VVER reactors. The patent is expected to be issued in several months and will provide protection in Ukraine from its issuance until December 2027. In addition to the Ukrainian patent, Lightbridge received patents during 2011 in the U.S. and from the nine-nation Eurasian Patent Convention for a specific locking mechanism for seed and blanket fuel assemblies.
Revenue for the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2011 was $0.8 million, compared to $1.2 million for the same period of 2010. Operating loss for the three months ended December 31, 2011 was $2.1 million, versus an operating loss of $2.2 million in the comparable period a year ago. For the year ended December 31, 2011, operating loss was $6.3 million, compared to an operating loss of $7.6 million in 2010. Revenue for the year was $6.4 million, versus $7.6 million in 2010. Lightbridge's revenue is derived primarily from consulting and strategic advisory services for foreign governments planning to create or expand electricity generation capabilities using nuclear power plants, and are used to help fund the continuing development of the Company's nuclear fuel technologies. Revenues are primarily generated from contracts in place with government entities in the United Arab Emirates, the State of Kuwait and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The GCC is a political and economic union that comprises the Gulf States of the Kingdom of Bahrain, State of Kuwait, Sultanate of Oman, State of Qatar, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.
Balance Sheet Overview
At December 31, 2011, the Company had approximately $9.3 million in cash and cash equivalents, restricted cash and marketable securities, and approximately $8.1 million of working capital, with no long term debt. Stockholders' equity was approximately $8.8 million at December 31, 2011 compared with $13.1 million on December 31, 2010. Common shares outstanding at December 31, 2011 totaled 12,427,220.
2011 Fourth Quarter Conference Call
Lightbridge will host a conference call on Wednesday, February 22, at 11 a.m. EST to discuss the Company's 2011 fourth quarter results and provide an update on recent corporate developments. Seth Grae, President and Chief Executive Officer, will lead the call and additional members of the senior management team will be available to answer questions.
Date: Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Time: 11 a.m. EST
Domestic Call-In: 1-800-860-2442
International Call-In: 1-412-858-4600
Canada Call-In: 866-605-3852
Live Webcast: http://www.videonewswire.com/event.asp?id=85380. Approximately one hour after the live event, an archived webcast will be available at this same URL.
Audio Replay: Available one hour after the conference through 9 a.m. February 29, 2012. Domestic call-in: 877-344-7529; international call-in: 412-317-0088. Conference # 10010449.
About Lightbridge Corporation
Lightbridge is a US nuclear energy company based in Tysons Corner, Virginia with operations in Abu Dhabi, Moscow and London. The Company develops proprietary, proliferation resistant, next generation nuclear fuel technologies for current and future nuclear reactor systems. The Company also provides comprehensive advisory services for established and emerging nuclear programs based on a philosophy of transparency, non-proliferation, safety and operational excellence. Lightbridge's breakthrough fuel technology is establishing new global standards for safe and clean nuclear power and leading the way to a sustainable energy future. Lightbridge consultants provide integrated strategic advice and expertise across a range of disciplines including regulatory affairs, nuclear reactor procurement and deployment, reactor and fuel technology and international relations. The Company leverages those broad and integrated capabilities by offering its services to commercial entities and governments with a need to establish or expand nuclear industry capabilities and infrastructure.
Lightbridge is on Twitter. Sign up to follow @LightbridgeCorp at http://twitter.com/lightbridgecorp.
Forward Looking Statement
This news release contains statements that are forward-looking in nature, including statements regarding the Company's competitive position and product and service offerings. These statements are based on current expectations on the date of this news release and involve a number of risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ significantly from such estimates. The risks include, but are not limited to, the degree of market adoption of the Company's product and service offerings; market competition; dependence on strategic partners; and the Company's ability to manage its business effectively in a rapidly evolving market. Certain of these and other risks are set forth in more detail in Lightbridge's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Lightbridge does not assume any obligation to update or revise any such forward-looking statements, whether as the result of new developments or otherwise.
CONTACT: Gary Sharpe Investor Relations Lightbridge Corporation 571-730-1213
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SOURCE Lightbridge Corporation