Ultra Safe Nuclear Opens PFM Facility for Fuel Fabrication

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Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation (Ultra Safe Nuclear), the Seattle-based world leader in the development of micro nuclear fission reactors, has opened its PFM (Pilot Fuel Manufacturing) plant in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The 3D printing process for manufacturing refractory ceramic carbides was developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and licensed from the USNC for use in the PFM production line.

Located in the East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP), the PFM facility leverages the region’s skilled workforce to produce the first fuel to be tested and qualified for use in the Advanced Energy System of Ultra Safe Nuclear’s modular micro-reactor (MMR) that is gaining traction in the US and global markets.

Tennessee Lieutenant Governor Randy McNally, Congressman Chuck Fleischmann (TN-03), Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy Dr. Kathryn Huff, and representatives from the offices of Senators Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty were on place Thursday to tour the USNC Pilot Fuel Manufacturing Plant on the eve of beginning radiological operations.

Ultra Safe Nuclear CEO Venneri looks on as ORNL Associate Lab Director McCarthy, Congressman Fleischman, Sen. Blackburn Staffer Ivens, Asst. Secretary Huff and Lieutenant Governor TN McNally tour the new pilot fuel plant with special guests.

“I am very pleased that Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation has chosen Oak Ridge as the base for its pilot fuel fabrication operation,” said Congressman Chuck Fleischman. “Advanced nuclear fuel technologies are key to bringing next-generation nuclear power to market and will enable us to meet our future clean energy needs.

The PFM facility uses the same production-scale modules for fabrication of TRISO-coated fuel particles and the company’s patented fully microencapsulated ceramic (FCM) fuel that will go into the future commercial fuel fabrication facility of ‘Ultra Safe Nuclear. PFM is a radiological facility capable of producing FCM for testing and qualification in multi-kilogram quantities. In the process, PFM will also codify and demonstrate the manufacturing modules that will be used in the company’s future commercial fuel manufacturing plant.

“It’s great to get GFP up and running here at Oak Ridge, which has a uniquely skilled nuclear workforce and contractor community,” said Dr. Kurt Terrani. , executive vice president of the USNC. “We chose this location specifically and the support we’ve gotten to build this one-of-a-kind facility with this level of quality and care, on an aggressive schedule and on budget is nothing short of phenomenal.”

Ultra Safe Nuclear opens the Oak Ridge PFM plant for fuel fabrication.  The 3D printing process has been authorized by ORNL
The inauguration ceremony.

The fuel fabrication processes and modules are based on the nuclear fuel research and development efforts of the US Department of Energy (DOE) and the Office of Nuclear Energy (NE). As mentioned earlier, the 3D printing process for manufacturing refractory ceramic carbides was developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and licensed by the USNC for use in the PFM production line.

“It’s great to see the technology developed at ORNL being used by industry – technology transfer is an important role that national labs play.” says Kathryn A. McCarthy, ORNL, associate director of the Laboratory for Energy and Fusion and Fission Science.

Dr Kathryn Huff, assistant secretary for nuclear energy at the Department of Energy, said: “The group of people here is really starry. I’m incredibly impressed with the people who have joined us here, and I think that’s an indication of the clear importance of this mission and the role this facility will play in the future of our nuclear energy as we transform this nation into a factory battling the calamity of climate change.

Ultra Safe Nuclear opens the Oak Ridge PFM plant for fuel fabrication.  The 3D printing process has been authorized by ORNL
Left to right, Deputy Director of the US NRC Office, US DOE-NE Deputy Taylor. Secretary Caponiti, Microsoft Director Noe, NEI President and CEO Korsnick, Constellation Vice President Kray, Ultra-Safe Nuclear NOC Stout Visit PFM as Facility Director Billings Outlines Process construction of the facility.

“With this facility, Ultra Safe Nuclear is one step closer to commercializing its fuel production,” said USNC CEO Dr. Francesco Venneri. “The market is ready. The nation is ready. The world is ready. Ultra Safe Nuclear is proud to lead the way with the Department of Energy, with Oak Ridge, and with all of our partners every step of the way.

Ultra Safe Nuclear was able to design and build this privately funded facility in less than twelve months. The PFM facility will produce the country’s first private sector TRISO and FCM fuel. This groundbreaking presence in Oak Ridge has already created more than 40 highly skilled jobs. The company is committed to rapidly and efficiently developing its cutting-edge technologies with a focus on delivering tangible products to an energy market that needs nuclear power to reduce carbon emissions.

“I am delighted to welcome Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation to the great state of Tennessee. Today’s announcement is a testament to our state’s business-friendly environment, Tennessee’s highly skilled workforce, and its continued leadership in next-generation nuclear technology,” said Senator Bill. Hagerty.


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