Lightbridge Fuel™

The New Shape of Clean Energy

Enfission’s Lightbridge Fuel™ technology will be designed to optimize new and existing nuclear power plants to both reduce operating cost and increase safety.

Enfission’s Lightbridge Fuel™ can provide significant, near-term benefits to the operation of nuclear plants through:

  • self spacinglower stored energy,
  • lighter and stiffer fuel assembly with likely improved seismic performance,
  • greatly reduced fission gas release concerns,
  • high burnups and increased cycle length capabilities,
  • ability to uprate,
  • ability to maneuver more quickly (load follow),
  • potential reduction in radiological release consequences from cladding failure,
  • reduced oxidation and hydrogen pickup

The ingenuity of Lightbridge Fuel™ technology lies in its helically-twisted shape and unique metallic composition. The innovative shape and composition are designed to significantly reduce fuel operating temperatures, improve the fuel’s structural integrity, and enhance its response to abnormal events.

The helically-twisted shape of the fuel rod-like interweaving strands of DNA — is unlike any other commercial nuclear fuel technology. The DNA-like twist eliminates the need for complex fuel assembly spacer and mixing grids as the fuel rods are naturally self-spacing..

Without spacer grids, the fuel assembly design complexity can be reduced, and a source of debris-trapping fuel failures is eliminated.

cross sectionThe metallic Lightbridge Fuel™ rod comprises three components: a uranium-zirconium alloy fuel core, a corrosion-resistant zirconium alloy barrier, and a central displacer. These components become metallurgically-bonded during the fuel manufacturing process to form a composite solid metal fuel rod.

Metallic nuclear fuels have been successfully used since the early days of nuclear energy, including in the EBR-II and many of the world’s research reactors. While various alloy fuels have been used for different applications, Lightbridge Fuel™ utilizes a zirconium-rich alloy, specifically designed for operation in commercial light water reactors (LWR).

The distinct shape and high thermal conductivity of the metal rod enables the fuel to operate at significantly cooler temperatures. Conventional fuel in a modern plant can operate at temperatures over 1,500 °C, nearly 1,000 °C higher than the peak operating temperature of Lightbridge Fuel™.