IBC’s Enhanced BeO Nuclear Fuel Exceeds Thermal Conductivity Expectations and Other Critical Performance Factors
March 18, 2014 (Source: Marketwired) — IBC Advanced Alloys Corp. (TSX VENTURE:IB) (OTCQX: IAALF) (“IBC” or the “Company”) provides an update on the Company’s enhanced beryllium oxide (BeO) nuclear fuel R&D program being conducted at Purdue University, Texas A&M University and MIT. Recent results met or exceeded expectations in the critical areas of repeatability and scalability of fuel pellet production, and as-fabricated fuel pellet thermal conductivity. The higher thermal conductivity will allow the fuel to attain the desired thermal conductivity with about one-half of the prior BeO content thereby enabling the fuel to achieve its desired power output with lower enriched uranium content which improves fuel economics.
The Texas A&M team, led by Dr. Sean McDeavitt, has successfully established a repeatable lab-scale pellet production method that should enable fuel manufacturers, utility operators and regulators to confidently and consistently accept the physical properties of BeO pellets from one production batch to another. A repeatable pellet production method is critical to establish consistently high quality UO2-BeO fuel pellets that can be optimally utilized for industrial irradiation cycles.
“We are able to achieve consistent repeatability at our Texas A&M research laboratories and have demonstrated strong data driven results for enhanced UO2-BeO pellets,” reports Dr. Sean McDeavitt. “Measurements of the as-fabricated pellet thermal conductivity, a key parameter for fuel performance, have also exceeded expectations and our research has consistently returned results with approximately twice the values for thermal conductivity of unenhanced UO2.”
These new and higher thermal conductivity measurements are important as they predict the ability to facilitate the same power output but with less BeO than previously expected in each pellet. This has an important and valuable knock-on effect as, with less BeO being used, the uranium content of each pellet may then be increased which in turn supports a reduction in uranium-235 enrichment. This can all be done while still maintaining optimal energy production with longer fuel cycles. This is extremely encouraging for the nuclear industry, especially reactor operators and utility companies, who would gain significant improvements in safety margins and operating economics with IBC’s BeO enhanced accident tolerant fuel.
“We are very encouraged with these new results and their safety and economic implications for IBC’s BeO nuclear fuel project,” commented Jim Malone, IBC’s Vice President of Nuclear Fuel. “Today’s nuclear industry is examining a variety of new technologies focused on the development of more economically efficient and accident tolerant nuclear fuels. We believe that IBC’s BeO enhanced fuel has further demonstrated its commercial potential and we look forward,” continued Mr. Malone, “to sharing these new and exciting results with our potential industry partners and to jointly taking the research to the next step.”
IBC sponsored research focuses on the structure and composition of beryllium oxide enhanced nuclear fuel as well as new protective cladding technologies, primarily silicon carbide, to improve fuel performance including longer life, more stability and better thermal conductivity. IBC sponsors R&D at Purdue University, Texas A&M University, and has partnered with Global Nuclear Fuels to conduct multi-oxide fuel testing. IBC is also partnered with Ceramic Tubular Products, LLC and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (“MIT”) to develop and analyze a silicon carbide-based ceramic composite cladding which will complement the BeO nuclear fuel.
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About IBC Advanced Alloys Corp.
IBC is an integrated manufacturer and distributor of rare metals (beryllium) based alloys and related products serving a variety of industries including nuclear energy, automotive, telecommunications and a range of industrial applications. IBC has 80 employees and is headquartered in Vancouver, Canada with production facilities in Indiana, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Missouri. IBC is creating a dynamic global beryllium and advanced alloys company. IBC’s common shares are traded on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol “IB” and the OTCQX under the symbol “IAALF”.
This news release was prepared by management of IBC, which takes full responsibility for its contents. The TSX Venture Exchange has not reviewed and does not accept responsibility for the adequacy of this news release. Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.
This disclosure contains certain forward-looking statements that involve substantial known and unknown risks and uncertainties, certain of which are beyond the Company’s control including: the impact of general economic conditions in the areas in which the Company operates, industry conditions, changes in laws and regulations including the adoption of new environmental laws and regulations and changes in how they are interpreted and enforced, increased competition, the lack of availability of qualified personnel or management, limited availability of raw materials, fluctuations in commodity prices, foreign exchange or interest rates, stock market volatility and obtaining required approvals of regulatory authorities. In addition there are risks and uncertainties associated with manufacturing activities therefore the Company’s future results, performance or achievements could differ materially from those expressed in these forward-looking statements. All statements included in this press release that address activities, events or developments that the Company expects, believes or anticipates will or may occur in the future are forward-looking statements. These statements are based on assumptions made by the Company based on its experience, perception of historical trends, current conditions, expected future developments and other factors it believes are appropriate in the circumstances.
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