Vancouver-based IBC Advanced Alloys (TSX-V: IB), a manufacturer of beryllium-based alloys, announced today that Purdue University has filed a patent for the design of a high thermal- conductivity nuclear fuel, developed under a research program funded by IBC.
According to research done by Purdue and Texas A&M University, the nuclear fuel, made from a mix of uranium oxide and beryllium oxide, is more efficient, safer, and less costly, compared to conventional nuclear fuels.
Under its research agreement with Purdue and Texas A&M University, IBC has the option for an exclusive license to the nuclear fuel technology.
It seems likely that IBC will exercise the option, since the company has previously expressed that the research program was intended to produce a commercially viable nuclear fuel.
Jim Malone, IBC’s Vice President of the Nuclear Fuels unit, said IBC is looking to partner with another company to continue researching the technology. According to Mr. Malone, utilities, regulators, and fuel makers have been increasingly receptive to high thermal conductivity nuclear fuels.
Being a manufacturer and distributor of beryllium, a crucial material in the nuclear fuel, IBC stands to benefit significantly if the design is accepted by the nuclear industry.