BWX Technologies to make TRISO nuclear fuel

Published: Dec. 7, 2022 at 6:09 PM EST
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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - A Lynchburg nuclear innovation and manufacturing company announced it’s producing a new fuel product.

BWX Technologies announced the Lynchburg facility will make TRISO nuclear fuel.

The Department of Energy says TRISO fuel is “the most robust nuclear fuel on Earth.”

“There’s an absorbent layer and then the protective coating that goes outside that and that’s what really gives this type of fuel it’s robustness, makes it special and why we’ve chosen it for this application because of it’s intrinsic safe that’s involved in this design,” said Jay Dryer, Director of the Strategic Capabilities Office for the U.S. Department of Defense.

TRISO fuel will be used by the Department of Defense.

“Power is essential to what we do and when you think about our mission and the ability to develop this power and provide that in areas that we don’t have to sustain with long supply lines of diesel fuel for example to run generators to produce this so, it greatly simplifies the logistics...and then ultimately though, what we learn in the design of the fuel and some of the construct of a reactor like this, if when you scale it up, of providing a source of carbon free energy and again, we all understand the benefits that,” said Dryer.

It can also be used by NASA in space exploration.

“One of first applications for a nuclear system is actually to sit on the moon and then to Mars and provide continuous power operations,” said Jim Reuter, NASA’s associate administrator for the Space Technology Mission Directorate.

BWX Technologies says it hopes to create more jobs for the local community.

“We were down to just a handful of people in that specialty fuels area and now we have dozens of people, engineers, technicians and that’s an area that can really grow,” said Rex Geveden, BWX Technologies President and CEO.