Fully Ceramic Micro-Encapsulated Fuel
Fuel Based Safety
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.
The fuel packaging starts with a Uranium Fuel Kernel measuring less than 1 mm across.
TRISO Particle Fuel
The kernel is coated with special layers designed like tiny pressure vessels. The layers contain fission products inside and ensure mechanical and chemical stability during irradiation and temperature changes. This is called a TRISO Particle. Developed in the 1960’s for gas-cooled reactors, TRISO has enjoyed continued international development resulting in an excellent starting point for the Ultra Safe reactor.
Ultra Safe Nuclear’s breakthrough is encasing the TRISO Particles within a dense Silicon Carbide matrix, which we call Fully Ceramic Micro-Encapsulated Fuel, or FCM™ Fuel.
FCM™ Fuel Pellets are stacked…
…and placed into Graphite Blocks. Graphite is the moderator which slows down neutrons and increases the likelihood that neutrons will cause fission reactions in the fuel. Cooling channels are built into the Graphite Blocks. Cold helium flows through the cooling channels and picks up heat.
Reactor Core Cartridge
The Reactor Core is made up of several hundred such Graphite Blocks with a few tons of fuel. Various openings and channels are used for control rods and coolant flow.
Benefits of Intrinsic Safety
The Core is placed inside the vessel of the Micro Modular Reactor (MMR™). 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.
Versatile Fuel Applications for Everyone
The unique characteristics of FCM™ fuel make it an excellent choice for nuclear applications in addition to the MMR™ Energy System. For instance, it could be used in legacy reactors to improve accident tolerance. Its high temperature capabilities also make it ideal for hydrogen production, space reactors and space nuclear propulsion.