BWX Technologies Inc. is restarting its TRISO nuclear fuel production line.
The company announced that it also plans to expand its existing capacity within a year or so. BWXT is hoping to have its nuclear fuel capacity ready and available to meet the needs of U.S. Department of Defense microreactors, space reactors and civil advanced reactors, according to the release.
“We are very interested in a number of promising applications for TRISO fuel,” said Rex Geveden, BWXT’s president and chief executive officer. “Given our long history of successful production and testing of this fuel type, we are extremely pleased to be ramping up this capability.”
TRISO stands for Tristructural-Isotropic and is a type of uranium nuclear reactor fuel. BWXT says that this fuel can withstand extreme heat and has low proliferation and environmental risks.
BWXT’s TRISO production facility is producing a type of high assay low enriched unranium fuel. This reactor fuel is undergoing validation through a series of experiments in the advanced test reactor at the Idaho National Laboratory.
The company has worked with the U.S. Department of Energy have cooperated in the development and qualification of TRISO-based fuel for more than 15 years. Over the next few months, BWXT will add additional equipment and hire up to 60 additional workers to its existing facility to restart production.
Within two to nearly three years, the company will complete capacity upgrades to begin increased TRISO production to meet emerging customer needs.
Earlier this year, BWX Technologies announced a $2.1 billion agreement with the U.S. Navy on nuclear reactor components and fuel. The work will primarily support Virginia-class and Columbia-class submarine construction.