IBC Advanced Alloys Corp. (CVE:IB) (OTCQX: IAALF) said Thursday it has signed a memorandum of understanding agreement with Ceramic Tubular Products to jointly develop their respective nuclear fuel technologies.
The two technologies, which will be advanced to address operational and performance issues with light water reactor fuel systems, are complementary, the companies said, and have the ability to deliver "significant" fuel performance improvements and safety benefits.
Ceramic Tubular has been developing an advanced nuclear fuel ceramic cladding, known as silicon carbide triplex cladding, primarily for existing Light Water Reactors (LWRs), which aims to improve the economics of the nuclear industry by increasing safety margins and overall fuel performance.
The company has been awarded multiple grants, including one from the US Department of Energy, to further research, identify and evaluate complementary fuel forms, such as IBC's beryllium-enhanced fuel that could contribute by facilitating the cladding to achieve full potential in commercial service, IBC said.
"We look forward to working with IBC and their advanced nuclear fuel R&D program," said CEO of Ceramic Tubular, Herb Feinroth.
"Our respective technologies not only complement each other from a technological and commercial perspective, but are also very timely, given recent developments in the nuclear industry after the accident of the Fukushima LWR reactors in Japan."
Under the terms of the agreement, IBC and Cermaic will collaborate to develop, test and potentially commercialize their combined respective technologies.
IBC, with Purdue and Texas A&M universities, will assist in analyzing how IBC's beryllium oxide-enhanced responds and performs in LWRs. IBC's beryllium-enhanced fuel is being developed as a high thermal conductivity nuclear fuel that is more efficient and safer, for use in both current and future nuclear power reactors.
IBC's president and CEO, Anthony Dutton, said: "IBC is excited to develop and collaborate with CTP on alternative nuclear fuel technologies that directly address economic performance and industry safety.
"IBC's objective is to commercialize its BeO enhanced fuel and to position itself as an essential part of the nuclear industry's supply chain. Our work with CTP will provide both parties with an opportunity to contribute to improved margins and cost efficiencies for the nuclear industry."
Aside from its prospective beryllium properties, Vancouver, BC-based IBC makes and distributes rare metal alloys that are used in a variety of industries, including nuclear energy, automotive, telecommunications, and a range of industrial application. It has 80 employees, with production facilities in Indiana, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Missouri.
IBC announced in February that it had completed the first phase of its research and development project on nuclear fuels - with positive results.