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MCLEAN, Va., June 23, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Lightbridge Corporation (Nasdaq:LTBR), the leading developer of non-proliferative nuclear fuel technology and provider of comprehensive advisory services for civil nuclear energy programs, today announced a major technological breakthrough that has the potential to transform the nuclear power industry. Lightbridge's new fuel technology based on a proprietary all-metal fuel assembly design could reduce both initial capital costs per megawatt and annual operating costs per kilowatt-hour of nuclear power, making it more competitive with other forms of electricity generation while contributing to a significant reduction of CO2 emissions.
It is expected that Lightbridge's all-metal fuel technology could be applied to currently operating or new light water reactors as well as small modular reactors which provide the same benefits as in larger commercial nuclear power plants. It is also highly synergistic with fast reactor fuel designs.
One of the key benefits of the Lightbridge-designed all-metal fuel technology is a potential 30% increase in power output per reactor compared to reactors using standard oxide nuclear fuel. This could translate into additional revenue for a 1,600-MWe light water reactor of up to $250 million or more per year, or nearly $16 billion over a 60-year expected lifetime of such reactors. This increased power output is expected to lower operating costs on a per kilowatt-hour basis and strengthen the economics of nuclear power versus other forms of power generation. In addition, currently operating light water reactors could also take advantage of this power uprate by switching to Lightbridge's all-metal fuel design.
The Lightbridge-designed all-metal fuel design would provide enhanced proliferation resistance and result in up to 23% less volume of used fuel per kilowatt-hour of electricity generated and is expected to have improved fuel operation compared to standard oxide fuel.
"When it comes to meeting the ever increasing global demand for power generation, innovation will be the key to a sustainable and safe solution for industry and governments worldwide," said Seth Grae, CEO, Lightbridge. "Our breakthrough all-metal fuel technology builds upon over a decade of research and development effort that has been underway on our seed-and-blanket fuel assembly design. This transformational fuel technology also helps advance our seed-and-blanket fuel assembly designs due to the synergies between the seed fuel rods and the fuel rods used in the all-metal fuel assembly design. We expect that our all-metal nuclear fuel technology will provide significant economic incentives to nuclear utilities that make it economically attractive to adopt this advanced fuel product."