GREENBELT, Md., Oct. 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- X-energy hosted a group of international nuclear fuel experts in Annapolis, MD, last week to develop a fuel validation path for X-energy's Xe-100 high temperature gas-cooled nuclear reactor (HTGR). The Xe-100 uses tristructural isotropic (TRISO) fuel particles – small kernels of uranium surrounded by multiple layers of protective carbon and ceramic – that are formed into spherical graphite elements, called pebbles. The Department of Energy's Advanced Gas Reactor (AGR) program has extensively tested and verified the remarkable radionuclide retention capabilities of TRISO fuel, and X-energy plans to leverage this investment to develop a strategy to rapidly develop and license fuel for the Xe-100.
Dr. Pete Pappano, X-energy Vice President for Fuel Production, said, "TRISO particles are a well-understood and proven fuel form. Through the AGR program, the U.S. government has invested millions of dollars, irradiated over 300,000 TRISO particles, and demonstrated their remarkable radionuclide retention capabilities. By developing a strong fuel strategy, we are taking a significant step towards full commercialization."
The international participants in this fuel workshop, the second hosted by the company this year, bring real-world practical experience in the development and testing of TRISO-based fuels, both in the United States and internationally. Conference attendees shared insights from previous HTGR development efforts, including those in Germany and South Africa. Notable attendees included:
- Dr. Dave Petti, Director of the Advanced Reactor Technologies Program, Idaho National Lab
- Stu Rubin, Executive Program Manager, Numark Associates
- John Hunn, Distinguished Staff Scientist, Oak Ridge National Lab
- Heinz Nabielek, Independent Consultant
The Xe-100 design benefits from the extensive worldwide heritage of HTGR technology. HTGRs are among the best-understood advanced reactor concepts, and the Xe-100 builds on experience in many pebble-bed projects around the world. X-energy will leverage this proven international experience to further accelerate the development process of the Xe-100 and its required fuel.
About X-energy: X-energy is a nuclear engineering design company seeking to significantly improve global quality of life through innovative nuclear technology. X-energy is designing the Xe-100, a pebble-bed reactor that will expand nuclear power into new markets in convenient increments of approximately 50MWe. The versatile, small-scale Xe-100 plant promises less required upfront capital and lower overall project delivery risk than conventional commercial nuclear power facilities. X-energy is based in Greenbelt, Maryland.
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