January 9, 2024
January 9, 2024
Peachtree Corners, GA – NAC International Inc. (NAC) has received approval from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for its patented OPTIMUS®-L packaging system (U.S. Pat. No. 11,373,773) to contain and transport High-Assay Low-Enriched Uranium (HALEU) TRISO fuel, which will be used in advanced reactors. This is the first time the NRC has licensed high-capacity packagings (>500 lb payload) of HALEU TRISO fuel in the U.S. and lays the foundation for future licensing of NAC’s OPTIMUS systems to carry other HALEU contents.
The NRC issued Certificate of Compliance (CoC) No. 9390 Rev. 2 (USA/9390/B(U)F-96), on December 14, 2023, enabling NAC with the OPTIMUS-L system (packaging and contents) under 10 CFR Part 71 to transport HALEU TRISO fuel compacts to support an advanced reactor project for a customer. TRISO stands for TRI-structural ISOtropic particle fuel, with each TRISO particle consisting of a uranium, carbon and oxygen fuel kernel encapsulated by three layers of carbon- and ceramic-based materials that prevent the release of radioactive fission products. HALEU TRISO fuels are being considered as the preferred fuel in several advanced reactor designs currently under development.
The approval of high-capacity packaging systems like OPTIMUS-L for these types of fuel supports the development of a robust HALEU infrastructure to ensure material movement is not a limiting factor in modern nuclear power development. When compared to smaller capacity drum packages that would require an excessive number of packagings and significantly more handling effort per conveyance trailer, the OPTIMUS-L offers a highly competitive solution to economically ship commercial quantities of HALEU materials with fewer packagings.
The OPTIMUS-L is a lightweight, versatile, and modular nuclear materials packaging system first licensed by the NRC in December 2021. NAC developed OPTIMUS as a platform that can be easily expanded and optimized for multiple types of nuclear materials using the company’s proprietary methodologies. NAC plans on leveraging this platform to include a range of HALEU forms and design configurations to support future HALEU material packaging and transportation projects.
“We are pleased to achieve this milestone – NRC certification for our unequaled OPTIMUS-L system to incorporate HALEU TRISO contents. Receiving this CoC supports our objective of offering high-capacity and high-efficiency HALEU transportation to support commercial shipments. This amendment opens the door for other future HALEU contents in the OPTIMUS-L platform,” said Kent Cole, NAC President and CEO. “This certification is an important milestone on our HALEU packaging technology roadmap, and by offering efficient HALEU packaging and transportation, we are doing our part to help build a robust HALEU fuel cycle.”
While this license amendment supports an existing, confidential customer project, future amendments will be broader in scope and facilitate different types of HALEU transportation. NAC looks forward to expanding our collaboration with nuclear fuel suppliers, advanced reactor developers, and the industry in general to support packaging and transportation needs for advanced reactor development and commercialization.
About NAC International
NAC International Inc. (www.nacintl.com) is a diversified corporation specializing in developing and licensing technology and providing full scope services for used nuclear fuel and radioactive materials packaging, storage, transport, and management. Since 1968, NAC has been a leader in providing solutions and services to the nuclear industry throughout the world, working with both government and commercial organizations. NAC provides a broad range of fuel cycle-related consulting and information services to clients worldwide. NAC maintains its corporate headquarters in Peachtree Corners, GA. NAC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi Zosen Corporation, a global leader in design and construction of environmental systems, industrial plants, industrial machinery, process equipment, infrastructure-related equipment, disaster prevention systems, and precision machinery.
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