Uranium & Fuel

US / Lightbridge And Centrus Considering Pilot Fuel Fabrication Plant At Piketon

By Kamen Kraev
13 December 2023

Partnership aims to produce Haleu for existing and new reactors

Lightbridge And Centrus Considering Pilot Fuel Fabrication Plant At Piketon
Centrus Energy’s American Centrifuge Plant in Piketon, Ohio.

US-based nuclear fuel cycle companies Lightbridge Corporation and Centrus Energy have announced a joint project to conduct a study for a new Lightbridge pilot fuel fabrication facility at the American Centrifuge Plant in Piketon, Ohio.

The companies said in a statement that a front-end engineering and design (Feed) study, scheduled for completion in 2024, will identify infrastructure needs, licensing requirements, estimated costs and the construction schedule for the facility.

American Centrifuge Operating, a Centrus Energy subsidiary and the operator of Piketon, will be in charge of the study, said the statement.

The partnership aims to create high-assay low-enriched uranium (Haleu) based fuels that have the potential to power both existing and new reactors.

The announcement has come amidst moves in the US to approve legislation that would bar the importation of low-enriched Russian uranium. Russia provides almost a quarter of the enriched uranium used to fuel the US’s commercial reactor fleet.

During the Cop28 climate summit in Dubai, representatives from the US, Canada, France, Japan, and the UK, collectively referred to as the Sapporo 5 within the G7 group, announced plans to raise $4.2bn (€3.9bn) in government-backed funding to develop a global nuclear energy supply chain free from Russian influence.

Lightbridge Corporation develops advanced nuclear fuel technology for existing reactors and new small modular reactors. Centrus Energy supplies enrichment services. The company recently delivered a pilot batch of Haleu fuel under a demonstration programme run by the US Department of Energy.

Centrus began the construction of centrifuges at Piketon in 2019 as part of a contract with the Department of Energy. The company said in October that it had begun enrichment operations at Piketon, which is allowed to enrich uranium up to 20% Uranium-235 (U-235), higher than levels between 3% and 5% in conventional reactor fuel.

Pen Use this content