USNC authorizes 3D printing for the manufacture of reactor components: Waste and recycling

January 11, 2022

Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation (USNC) has licensed a new method for 3D printing nuclear reactor components, developed by the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), which the Seattle-based company says , is ideal for manufacturing components for its advanced technologies. nuclear reactor designs.

The technique can be used to print complex components (Image: Carlos Jones/ORNL, US Department of Energy)

The process developed by ORNL prints refractive materials – materials highly resistant to extreme heat and degradation – using binder jet printing as an additive manufacturing technique, combined with a ceramic production process called infiltration chemical in the vapor phase. The UNSC’s refractory material of choice for nuclear reactor core components is silicon carbide – which is resistant to high temperatures and tolerant of radiation, but is extremely time-consuming and expensive to machine into complex-shaped reactor parts. The new technology will allow USNC to manufacture these components more efficiently.

“This technology is ideal for fabricating structural and core components for USNC’s advanced reactor designs,” said USNC Executive Vice President Kurt Terrani. “It’s the holy grail of additive, that you can do things faster, in geometries that were previously very difficult or impossible with conventional manufacturing methods,” he added. Terrani is the former technical director of ORNL’s Transformational Challenge Reactor (TCR) program, launched in 2019 with the goal of designing, manufacturing and operating an additively manufactured demonstration microreactor by 2023. since associated with two other initiatives to address the entire life cycle of nuclear materials and related technologies.

“It is gratifying to see the transition from a basic concept to a more mature technology that is being actively developed and deployed by our industry partners,” said Jeremy Busby, director of the Nuclear Energy and Fuel Cycle Division at ORNL. .

USNC plans to locate a new Pilot Fuel Manufacturing Facility, or PFM, at the East Tennessee Technology Park in Oak Ridge to take advantage of ORNL’s proximity to expertise while increasing the production of specialized components for nuclear and industrial applications.

“The proximity of the laboratory and its world-class scientists and facilities allows us easy access to expertise in reactor core technologies and additive manufacturing, as well as the latest research in radiation, fuels and materials, all of which benefit USNC’s commitment to bringing safe, reliable and secure nuclear power to global markets,” said Francesco Venneri, CEO of USNC. USNC and ORNL have also signed a memorandum of understanding in September on advanced nuclear fuel and reactor development activities.

USNC’s Micro Modular Reactor (MMR) – a 15 MW high-temperature thermal and 5 MW electric gas-cooled reactor – is currently under license in Canada and the United States. Global First Power plans to build and operate an MMR unit at Chalk River Laboratories in Canada by 2026, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has notified the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission that she intended to build an MMR unit on her campus.

Research and writing by World Nuclear News

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