Thorium-HALEU based ANEEL™ fuel completes Pre-Licensing Milestone with CNSC

Source: www.gulfoilandgas.com 4/9/2024, Location: North America

Clean Core Thorium Energy (Clean Core) announced successful completion of the Phase 1 pre-licensing Vendor Design Review (VDR) process with Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), the regulatory authority for Canada Deuterium Uranium (CANDU) reactors. Clean Core has been actively engaged with Canada’s nuclear industry with their patented fuel technology, the ANEEL™ fuel. In the completion of this Phase and the associated assessment report, no issues were identified by the CNSC that could present a fundamental barrier to the licensing of the ANEEL™ fuel in Canada.

The ANEEL™ fuel is made of thorium and high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU), developed for use in pressurized heavy water reactors (PHWRs) and Canada deuterium uranium (CANDU) reactors. This fuel has the capability to realize significantly improved performance with existing proven heavy water reactor systems by leveraging thorium’s inherently superior nuclear, thermal and physical properties while retaining the same external dimensions and configuration design as in the currently used Natural Uranium (NU) fuel bundles. Without any significant modifications to the reactor, the replacement of the currently used NU fuel bundles with Clean Core’s ANEEL™ fuel bundles can reduce life-cycle operating costs and waste volumes, increase safety and accident tolerance, and result in additional proliferation resistance.

Clean Core has been engaged with CNSC since 2022, including submissions across 9 focus areas in the review, building a licensing basis and safety case for the ANEEL™ fuel. The successful completion of the Phase 1 pre-licensing marks a major milestone for the company and nuclear industry as the first thorium-based fuel for CANDU reactors to successfully complete this phase of the CNSC pre-licensing process for new fuel designs. The pre-licensing process provided an opportunity for Clean Core to demonstrate understanding and compliance with Canadian licensing requirements and seek detailed feedback ahead of a formal license application.

In the Executive Summary of assessment report, the CNSC concluded, “Overall, CCTE generally understands and has correctly interpreted the high-level intent of the CNSC’s regulatory requirements as applicable to fuel design and qualification” and “The findings documented within this report are foreseen to be resolvable.” The Executive Summary will be made publically available on the CNSC’s website in the near future.

“The work performed through the VDR and our engagements with the CNSC highlights Clean Core’s regulatory and commercial readiness. This is a critical step forward for our ANEEL™ fuel technology and in advancing nuclear power generation across Canada and globally,” says Mehul Shah, CEO and Founder of Clean Core.

Clean Core signed a Strategic Partnership Project Agreement with the US DOE and will begin their irradiation testing and qualification in the Advanced Test Reactor at Idaho National Labs in April 2024 to achieve planned burnup targets of up to 60 GWd/T. Clean Core has been in actively partnering and engaging with key industry players including regulators, utilities, and suppliers to achieve a successful commercialization of the ANEEL™ fuel by 2026.


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