Fully Ceramic Microencapsulated (FCM™) fuel provides a new approach to inherent reactor safety by providing an ultimately safe fuel. Industry standard TRISO fuel, which contains the radioactive byproducts of fission within layered ceramic coatings, are encased within a fully dense silicon carbide matrix. This combination provides an extremely rugged and stable fuel with extraordinary high temperature stability.
Developed in the 1960’s for gas-cooled reactors, TRISO has enjoyed continued international development resulting in an essentially flawless fuel product. Combined with the breakthrough processing which allows TRISO compaction within a dense SiC matrix, FCM™ fuel is stable under irradiation and capable of withstanding temperatures well in excess of all postulated accident conditions, ensuring total containment of radioactivity.
The FCM fuel unlocks a number of system benefits including fission product isolation that improves worker and plant safety, enhanced proliferation resistance, and minimized emergency planning zones.
> 2000 °C
LEU 9 - 12%
The unique characteristics of FCM™ fuel make it an excellent choice for nuclear applications in addition to the MMR™ Energy System. For instance, it should be used in legacy reactors to improve accident tolerance. Its high temperature capabilities also make it ideal for hydrogen production, space reactors and nuclear thermal rockets.
The MMR™ Energy System is USNC’s first commercial product using FCM™. It is designed for deployment in northern Canada where it will provide power to off-grid mines and communities at rates that are competitive with fossil fuels and renewables.
IEA predicts that industry will cause 42% of carbon emissions in 2040. MMR™’s industrial process steam can replace fossil fuel combustion at industrial scale. MMR™’s steam can also be used for industrial heat, desalination, greenhouses, acqua farms, and district heating. MMR™ can deliver process heat at a cost comparable to gas in Europe and Asia.
MMR™ Energy System can also provide hydrogen at US DOE targets of $3.10-3.70/kg as feedstock or to replace fossil fuel.
Space activities are expected to require significant power. FCM™ fuel’s high temperature and containment capabilities make it a promising candidate for space applications such as high power nuclear electric propulsion, in-situ resource utilization, life-support, mining, and reprocessing of materials.
Cargo transport currently contributes close to a quarter of carbon emissions. USNC has several technologies under development that may enable factory manufactured ship reactors for commercial transportation and mobile emergency power.
FCM™ powered nuclear thermal rockets will be able to achieve specific impulse (Isp) of 750 s with growth path to greater than 900 s. LEU FCM™ fuel can unlock solar system transport.