LYNCHBURG, Va.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–BWX Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: BWXT) announced today that its Nuclear Operations Group, Inc. subsidiary has been awarded a competitively bid contract by the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) to expand and upgrade its TRISO nuclear fuel manufacturing line.
This $26 million, 20-month contract award will both expand BWXT’s TRISO capacity for the manufacture of TRISO fuel compacts as well as upgrade existing systems for delivering production-scale quantities of TRISO fuel. At a later date, BWXT anticipates potential awards for additional contract options that would enable the fabrication and delivery of the fuel in support of future game-changing missions for both the Department of Defense and NASA. This project is an effort jointly funded by the Department of Defense’s Operational Energy Capabilities Improvement Fund (OECIF) Office and NASA, with overall program management provided by the Strategic Capabilities Office.
TRISO refers to a specific design of uranium nuclear reactor fuel. TRISO is a shortened form of the term TRIstructural-ISOtropic. TRIstructural refers to the layers of coatings surrounding the uranium fuel, and ISOtropic refers to the coatings having uniform materials characteristics in all directions so that fission products are essentially retained.
“In October 2019, we announced plans to restart and expand our TRISO fuel production line because of strong market signals. The award that we’re announcing today is another step in that direction,” said Joel Duling, BWXT Nuclear Operations Group, Inc. president. “Since that time, we have made significant technical progress on our ongoing restart activities, including releasing the solution preparation, kernel forming, and sintering furnace systems for production use.”
“This contract award is another in a string of recent announcements at BWXT related to our unique ability to manufacture TRISO fuel at scale for both government and commercial customers,” said Rex Geveden, BWXT’s president and chief executive officer. “We plan to continue to leverage our capabilities for growth given the outlook we see for this and other specialty nuclear fuel types for Department of Energy and NASA programs, as well as emerging commercial customers.”
BWXT is the only U.S. company to manufacture irradiation-tested uranium oxycarbide TRISO fuel using production-scale equipment. Its TRISO production facility is currently licensed to produce this type of High Assay Low Enriched Uranium (HALEU) fuel, which is undergoing validation in a series of experiments at Idaho National Laboratory at their Advanced Test Reactor under the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Advanced Gas-cooled Reactor program. BWXT has worked with the DOE in support of TRISO-based fuel development and qualification for more than 15 years.
Forward Looking Statements
BWXT cautions that this release contains forward-looking statements, including statements relating to the performance, timing, impact and value, to the extent contract value can be viewed as an indicator of future revenues, of the fuel manufacturing contract; the timing, benefits and impact of such contract and any option exercises; and our outlook for future fuel demand and potential uses. These forward-looking statements involve a number of risks and uncertainties, including, among other things, modification or termination of the contract or any option, demand for fuel, and validation. If one or more of these or other risks materialize, actual results may vary materially from those expressed. For a more complete discussion of these and other risk factors, please see BWXT’s annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019 and subsequent quarterly reports on Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. BWXT cautions not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this release, and undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement, except to the extent required by applicable law.
At BWX Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: BWXT), we are People Strong, Innovation Driven. Headquartered in Lynchburg, Va., BWXT provides safe and effective nuclear solutions for national security, clean energy, environmental remediation, nuclear medicine and space exploration. With approximately 6,600 employees, BWXT has 12 major operating sites in the U.S. and Canada. In addition, BWXT joint ventures provide management and operations at more than a dozen U.S. Department of Energy and NASA facilities. Follow us on Twitter at @BWXTech and learn more at www.bwxt.com.