Uranium & Fuel

US / BWXT Wins $116.5 Million NNSA Contract For Haleu Feedstock Production

By David Dalton
31 August 2023

Fuel needed for next-generation of nuclear reactors

BWXT Wins $116.5 Million NNSA Contract For Haleu Feedstock Production
BWXT will conduct the project at its facilities near Lynchburg, Virginia. Courtesy BWXT.

The US National Nuclear Security Administration has awarded BWX Technologies a potential $116.5m (€107m) contract to produce more than two metric tonnes of high assay low enriched uranium (Haleu) feedstock for advanced reactors over the next five years.

BWXT Nuclear Operations Group will generate the Haleu feedstock – a raw material that can be used for fuel fabrication – by processing thousands of kilogrammes of NNSA-provided scrap material containing enriched uranium.

The contract has an initial value of approximately $47m, the Virginia-based company said on Wednesday (30 August).

The project will clear over two metric tonnes of scrap material from the Y-12 National Security Complex, contributing to efforts to reduce inventories at the site while also supporting the Department of Energy’s advanced reactor demonstration projects, a statement said.

The Y-12 National Security Complex was bult as part of the Manhattan Project to produce the first atomic bomb.

The scrap material to be provided by the NNSA is in a variety of forms and enrichment levels, and it has been collected by the government from a number of different sources, primarily Y-12.

BWXT said it will produce over two metric tonnes of Haleu over the next five years, with several hundred kilogrammes expected to be available as early as 2024.

The final product of the programme will be Haleu feedstock in an oxide form at an enrichment level of 19.75%.

Haleu is an essential advanced nuclear fuel required for the development of most next-generation reactor designs. It is needed for 90% of advanced reactor designs selected for funding under the US Department of Energy’s advanced reactor demonstration programme.

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