MCLEAN, Va., Dec. 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Lightbridge Corporation (NASDAQ: LTBR), a leading innovator of next generation nuclear fuel designs and provider of nuclear energy consulting services to commercial and governmental organizations, today announced that independent analysis of the Company's fuel design validates the technology's indicated benefits of increased power output and enhanced operating economics for nuclear utilities.
"Power uprate project economics are generally attractive for nuclear plant owners," the study concluded. "The economics of Lightbridge's nominal 10% capacity uprate are attractive since the uprate's levelized cost of generation is below the expected market price for power in 2021 and that of most incremental power uprates on fossil fueled units." The economic analysis was prepared by Pace Global Energy Services LLC, a Siemens business, working with a global engineering firm with expertise in the nuclear power industry.
"This analysis by a credible and respected expert advances the strategic positioning of Lightbridge's fuel technology within the nuclear power industry," said Seth Grae, Lightbridge President and Chief Executive Officer. "The Pace Global study shows that Lightbridge's metallic fuel can deliver significantly improved economics to nuclear utilities from increased power output and extended fuel cycles, resulting in highly attractive returns on invested capital, even with conservative assumptions on reactor conversion and regulatory licensing costs, and fuel technology licensing fees paid to Lightbridge. The economics for a 10% power uprate case are quite favorable across both regulated and unregulated utility markets and provide the cheapest source of incremental generating capacity compared to building a new nuclear or non-nuclear power plant."
Other findings of the Pace Global study include projected increases in domestic wholesale power prices of 4.5% per year from 2013 to 2030, which would further improve the economics for utilities using Lightbridge's fuel. Power prices are expected to average more than $70/MWh (as measured in 2012 U.S. dollars) by 2030, compared with an estimated range of $29 to $41/MWh in 2013, the study says. The full report can be accessed via Lightbridge's website in the Featured Reports and Presentations section of the Company's Investor Relations page."While the Pace Global study focused exclusively on power uprates in existing 4-loop Westinghouse-type 1,100-MWe pressurized water reactors (PWR), Lightbridge's metallic fuel is also expected to deliver improved plant economics in new PWR designs such as AP-1000, EPR and similar new reactor designs, boiling water reactors, and light water-based small modular reactor designs," Grae said.