TYSONS CORNER, Va., Aug. 9, 2011 /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 2011 first half business update on the progress of its nuclear fuel technology and consulting businesses and reported financial results for the second quarter ended June 30, 2011.
"We continue to make steady progress executing our fuel development plan, and remain on track. We're in the midst of important initiatives on the fuel technology side of our business, including several strategically significant activities with Idaho National Laboratory," said Seth Grae, President and CEO of Lightbridge. "Later this year, we're anticipating important updates on these initiatives, which are being evaluated and financed by the US Department of Energy."
2011 Business Update
The Company has had several tangible developments in the 2011 first half on its pathway to commercialization, including the following:
- In the second quarter, Lightbridge had a positive development as Idaho National Laboratory (INL) provided preliminary indication that the Company might be able to eliminate the capsule irradiation testing phase of the Company's metallic fuel samples at the Advanced Test Reactor (ATR) at INL, and go directly to loop irradiation testing at the ATR. Loop irradiation testing is a critical path item on Lightbridge's fuel development program schedule, and is one of the more important fuel qualification steps in test facilities necessary for regulatory approval of full-scale demonstration of the Company's fuel in a full-size commercial nuclear power plant, the so-called lead test assembly (LTA) testing. INL will conduct an initial scoping study to confirm the technical feasibility of performing loop irradiation testing at the ATR, followed by a more detailed safety analysis once technical feasibility has been confirmed in the initial scoping study. The funding for these studies comes from the US Department of Energy (DOE). Eliminating capsule irradiations and moving up loop irradiations to an earlier start date are expected to have a positive impact on Lightbridge's overall fuel development schedule and offset some of the costs in the remaining R&D spending requirements as DOE is now expected to fund the loop irradiation testing in the ATR, provided the testing is confirmed technically feasible. Other benefits of eliminating the capsule irradiation phase and moving directly to loop irradiation testing would be the ability to generate more technical data sooner that could then be shared with nuclear utilities, fuel fabricators and nuclear regulatory authorities. Lightbridge anticipates confirmation from INL and DOE later this year on the feasibility of going directly to loop irradiations.
- Idaho National Laboratory (INL) is in the process of completing a comprehensive independent analysis of the Lightbridge thorium-based seed and blanket technology. As an independent reviewer, INL is funding and providing the personnel required to complete the analysis, which covers the metallic zirconium-uranium seed and the thorium-uranium dioxide blanket. INL is in the process of finalizing the report which will be submitted to DOE. Lightbridge expects the report to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2011 and the Company will provide an update once it becomes publicly available.
- Lightbridge completed a series of thermal-hydraulic and vibration testing on a semi-scale VVER-1000 seed and blanket fuel assembly mockup in Russia. A report with the test results is currently being finalized by the Company's Russian partner. Lightbridge will prepare a technical article describing the findings and submit it for publication in a peer-reviewed technical journal later this year. This testing is important for validation of fuel assembly behavior under prototypic coolant flow conditions.
- Lightbridge completed a preliminary core design for LTB17-1718™ (all-uranium seed and blanket fuel for 17% power uprates and 18-month operating cycles) for an AREVA-designed 1,600-MWe EPR reactor. Lightbridge is working on a core design for the Seabrook plant that is currently in operation in New Hampshire and that Lightbridge has selected as a reference reactor design. This is a typical 4-loop Westinghouse-type PWR plant that is well understood by nuclear utilities.
Mr. Grae concluded, "We continue to expand our patent portfolio. In April, Lightbridge was granted a Eurasian patent that covers our thorium-based seed and blanket fuel assembly design for VVER reactors and extends patent protection for that design in the countries that are signatories of the Eurasian Patent Convention from 2015 to 2027. We expect to receive official notification of patent application examination for this fuel assembly design in the US, Europe and other key countries later this year. In addition, we have filed new patent applications covering our seed and blanket, and all-metal fuel technologies for power uprates and longer fuel cycles. On the consulting side of our business, which generated some additional incremental revenue in the second quarter versus the 2010 second quarter, we continue to work with existing customers and engage in discussions with new potential customers about our services. Following the events at Fukushima, there's a sharpened focus on nuclear plant safety and upgrades, both trends of which will have a tangible and measurable impact on our business."
A more detailed update on Lightbridge's nuclear fuel technology is available in the Fuel Technology section on the Company's web site at www.ltbridge.com.
Revenue for the second quarter ended June 30, 2011 increased to $2.3 million, compared to $2.0 million for the second quarter of 2010. Operating loss for the three months ended June 30, 2011 improved to $1.2 million, as compared to an operating loss of $2.0 million in the comparable period a year ago. The Company's operating revenues are derived primarily from its 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
As of June 30, 2011, the Company had approximately $10.5 million in cash and cash equivalents and marketable securities, and approximately $10.5 million of working capital, with no long term debt. Stockholders' equity was $11.1 million on June 30, 2011 compared with $13.1 million on December 31, 2010. The total number of common shares outstanding as of June 30, 2011 is 12,362,929.
2011 Second Quarter Conference Call
Lightbridge will host a conference call on Wednesday, August 10, at 11:00 AM EDT to discuss the Company's 2011 second 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.
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
11:00 AM EDT
Live Call (domestic):
Live Call (international):
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 towards 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 press 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 press release and involve a number of risks and uncertainties, which 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 "Item 1A. Risk Factors" in Lightbridge's Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended June 30, 2011. Lightbridge does not assume any obligation to update or revise any such forward-looking statements, whether as the result of new developments or otherwise.
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Preferred stock, $0.001 par value, 50,000,000 authorized shares, no shares issued and outstanding
Common stock, $0.001 par value, 500,000,000 authorized, 12,432,588 shares issued, 12,362,929 shares outstanding and 12,430,058 shares issued, 12,345,840 shares outstanding at June 30, 2011 and December 31, 2010, respectively
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SOURCE Lightbridge Corporation