TerraPower and Framatome to Develop HALEU Metallization Pilot Plant

TerraPower announced today an agreement with Framatome North America to fund the creation of a high assay low enriched uranium (HALEU) metallization pilot plant in Washington. This pilot plant will demonstrate Framatome’s capability to metallize HALEU from a uranium oxide form, and further advance TerraPower’s efforts to support the development of the domestic HALEU supply chain.

Metallization of HALEU is a crucial part of the deconversion process which allows uranium to transform into a metal that is then used to fabricate fuel rods for advanced reactors.

“A strong domestic fuel supply chain is crucial for the wide-scale deployment of advanced nuclear energy solutions; an energy source we know is needed to meet clean energy targets and provide reliable, baseload energy. This investment by TerraPower into Framatome’s pilot plant is a critical step in bringing advanced reactors like the NatriumTM technology1 to market. It is also one more way that TerraPower is delivering on its promise to do our part to support the fuel manufacturing sector,” said Chris Levesque, TerraPower President and CEO.

“This agreement advances fuel technologies for the nuclear energy industry and working pragmatically with TerraPower builds the trust and confidence our customers count on,” said Ala Alzaben, senior vice president for North America Fuel at Framatome. “TerraPower is at the forefront of the next generation of advance reactors and by utilizing our expertise and flexible manufacturing infrastructure, we can ensure new clean nuclear projects are not waiting on the supply chain of nuclear fuels.”

The pilot plant will be built as an expansion of Framatome’s Richland, Washington fuel manufacturing facility. TerraPower already supports operational centers in Washington state at its Bellevue-based headquarters and laboratory, and Everett laboratory location.

TerraPower is currently developing an advanced nuclear power plant that will provide both 24/7 carbon-free energy, along with gigawatt-scale energy storage. The Natrium technology features a 345 MWe sodium-cooled fast reactor with a molten salt-based energy storage system. The storage technology can boost the system’s output to 500 MWe for more than five and a half hours when needed. This innovative addition allows a Natrium plant to integrate seamlessly with renewable resources and leads to faster, more cost-effective decarbonization of the electric grid while producing dispatchable carbon-free energy. The Natrium demonstration plant is being constructed near a retiring coal facility in Wyoming.

Successful completion and operation of the HALEU metallization pilot plant will support Framatome’s efforts to expand the U.S. fuel supply chain capabilities. Framatome submitted an application for U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) funding that will be awarded in response to a DOE HALEU Availability Program (HAP) Solicitation (the HAP Deconversion and Metallization Request for Proposals).

About TerraPower

TerraPower is a leading nuclear innovation company that strives to improve the world through nuclear energy and science. Since it was founded by Bill Gates and a group of like-minded visionaries, TerraPower has emerged as an incubator and developer of ideas and technologies that offer energy independence, environmental sustainability, medical advancement and other cutting-edge opportunities. It accepts and tackles some of the world’s most difficult challenges. Behind each of its innovations and programs, TerraPower actively works to bring together the strengths and experiences of the world’s public and private sectors to answer pressing global needs. Learn more at terrapower.com.

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