The temperature at the core of Lightbridge Fuel roads is 1,000°C+ cooler than standard nuclear fuel
obtained in 2020
Three-quarters of the cost of Lightbridge’s technology development program - $846,000 in total - will be funded by a voucher from the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s GAIN program
The Path to Drawdown: Nuclear
Addressing climate change and remaining below 1.5ºC of global warming compared to pre-industrial levels means that the world’s electricity source needs to switch from fossil fuels to 100% emissions-free sources by 2050. Nuclear power needs to be a significant component in the energy mix of that decarbonized future.
Extremely powerful and efficient in generating electricity, nuclear power has reduced CO2 emissions by over 60 gigatonnes over the last five decades -- equivalent to nearly 2 years’ worth of global energy-related emissions. Unlike solar and wind, electric generation from nuclear power is stable. The cost of building new plants is still very high, but once built, the energy is relatively inexpensive. With Generation III reactors on the horizon, nuclear power is becoming safer, cheaper, and more efficient.
Nuclear power accounts for 10.5% of global electricity generation today. To be on a path to remain under 1.5C° of warming, nuclear power needs to grow mildly in the next three decades:
CAGR of 0.08% from 2018-2050
Lightbridge Corporation (stock ticker: LTBR) is a Virginia-based company that produces advanced nuclear fuel technology with the potential to make nuclear power safer and more economical.
LTBR’s Role in Drawdown
The IEA estimates (p. 198) that getting to net zero emissions by 2050 would mean expanding nuclear power generation capacity from the 2020 baseline level of 415 GW to 515 GW by 2030, and to 812 GW by 2050.
According to the World Nuclear Association, there were 443 nuclear reactors in the world as of June 2021, and 54 reactors under construction. Many of these are small modular reactors, or SMRs, which generally produce 300 MW or less. Global interest in SMRs is on the rise for a number of reasons: large nuclear reactors require high capital costs and long construction times; there is a need to service small electricity grids under about 4 GW; SMRs can more easily replace decommissioned coal-fired plants; and because of their small size, construction efficiency and passive safety systems, financing SMR projects can be easier. For all of these reasons, SMRs have the potential to play an important role in the growth of nuclear energy and in the overall path to Drawdown.
LTBR is designing and developing an all-metal fuel for use in currently operating and new-build reactors. This fuel is designed to be capable of significantly higher burnup and power density compared to conventional oxide nuclear fuels. This advanced nuclear fuel has the potential to increase the power production of SMRs by up to 30% (p. 6-7), enhance safety, and reduce operations and maintenance costs on a per KWh basis.
LTBR: What We Like
We will update this section once LightBridge makes their sustainability information available.