“The only commercial source of HALEU fuel”
TerraPower’s CEO, Chris Levesque, announced in a newsletter distributed to customers on Wednesday (Dec. 14), “TerraPower presented a plan to meet this timeline, which included HALEU (high-assay low-enriched uranium) from Russia.” Used. for our first core load.”
“However, in February 2022, the sole commercial source of HALEU fuel is no longer a viable part of the supply chain due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”
Levesque revealed that in the ten months following the invasion, TerraPower, the Department of Energy (DOE), project stakeholders, and congressional allies had vigorously investigated possible other sources for HALEU.
However, it is now clear that the domestic and affiliated HALEU manufacturing options will not achieve commercial capability in time to meet Natrium’s 2028 in-service date.
delay of at least two years
“Given the lack of fuel availability now, and no construction has started on new fuel enrichment facilities, TerraPower is expecting a delay of a minimum of two years to be able to bring the Natrium reactor into operation,” he said. Said.
Significantly, the advanced nuclear reactor design uses high-assay low-enriched uranium, or HALEU, which is thought to be far more enriched than those used in conventional nuclear reactors, up to 20 percent. Nuclear power proponents also believe that the technology produces less nuclear waste.
The current fleet of nuclear reactors in the United States runs on uranium-235 fuel enriched to only 5 percent. It was therefore concluded that TerraPower lacked the “rich capacity to supply commercial quantities of HALEU fuel” to the country.