And the drumbeat of nuclear-focused companies locating facilities in Oak Ridge continues, the latest being a dual announcement from a longtime Seattle-based collaborator with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).
Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation (USNC) has licensed a novel method to 3D print components for nuclear reactors, according to this news release from ORNL. The technology uses a sophisticated additive manufacturing technique to print refractory materials, which are highly resistant to extreme heat and degradation, into components with complex shapes needed for advanced nuclear reactor designs. USNC will incorporate this method to boost its mission to develop and deploy nuclear-based, energy-generating equipment that is safe, commercially competitive and simple to use.
“This technology is ideal for manufacturing structure and core components for USNC’s advanced reactor designs,” Kurt Terrani, USNC Executive Vice President, was quoted as saying in the news release. He has ties to ORNL, having served as Technical Director of the lab’s Transformational Challenge Reactor program before joining USNC.
In addition, USNC plans to expand its operations into East Tennessee to take advantage of proximity to ORNL’s expertise while scaling up production of specialty components for nuclear and industrial applications. The company will locate its new Pilot Fuel Manufacturing facility at the East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP) in Oak Ridge, which is home of the former K-25 plant and mere minutes from ORNL’s main campus.
Ultra Safe Nuclear is a 150-employee technology company operating through three divisions – core, power and technology. It describes itself as “well balanced between design, licensing, manufacture and project development, with a mix of young and senior engineers, material scientists and business experts, and a well-established network of suppliers and high-quality partnerships. We have a ‘best in business’ workforce that is highly motivated, well tested and demonstrably capable of meeting tough development and commercial milestones. We are able to recruit competitively in all areas of operations in multiple countries.”
USNC’s news follows 2021 announcements that General Fusion, a global leader in fusion energy technology development, had selected Oak Ridge as the headquarters for its U.S. operations, and Kairos Power was also investing $100 million and creating 55 jobs in the ETTP as part of a major effort to deploy a low-power demonstration reactor. You can read our most recent coverage of General Fusion here and Kairos here.