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IBC Signs Agreements for Next Phase Nuclear Fuels Research with Purdue and Texas A&M Universities
BeO Nuclear Fuel Research Advances
Vancouver, BC – April 12, 2011 – IBC Advanced Alloys Corp. (TSX-V: IB) (“IBC” or the “Company”) has signed collaborative research agreements (the “Agreements”) with both Purdue University (“Purdue”) and Texas Engineering Experiment Station (“TEES”), operated by Texas A&M University, to further advance its beryllium oxide (BeO) nuclear fuels R&D project. The R&D is focused on developing a high thermal conductivity BeO nuclear fuel for both current and future nuclear power reactors that is more efficient and safer than existing nuclear fuels. The project’s objective is to commercialize the intellectual property (the “IP”) and to position IBC as an essential part of the nuclear industry’s supply chain.
“We are very pleased to have entered into this next phase of collaborative R&D with Purdue and Texas A&M to develop our BeO nuclear fuel,” said Jim Malone, IBC’s Vice President of Nuclear Fuel. “The events in Japan graphically illustrate why IBC remains committed to nuclear technology and to supporting efforts to improve the safety and efficiency of the nuclear industry. IBC’s enhanced BeO fuel could have been beneficial in Japan,” continued Mr. Malone, “as its high thermal conductivity would have allowed a more efficient mechanism for heat dissemination thereby reducing stresses on fuel cladding and providing more response time for reactor operators.”
“IBC plans to irradiate fuel specimens, most likely at the Idaho Falls test reactor, within the next R&D period,” said Malone. ”These tests are an essential step in gathering data to validate the fuel’s behaviour under various conditions. This information will be used to support the process of obtaining U.S. NRC approval to deploy Lead Test Assemblies in an operating power plant. Working with industry partners, including GNF,” said Malone, “IBC is looking forward to commercializing this IP and to validating IBC’s upstream resource base.”
The underlying IP will govern the commercialization of the BeO enhanced fuel and has the potential to change the nuclear fuels industry and position IBC as an important nuclear industry participant. Under the terms of the Agreements IBC has an option to enter into an exclusive royalty bearing license to the IP with both Purdue and Texas A&M universities. Also pursuant to the Agreements the R&D phase will not exceed 24-months with a budget to be paid by IBC on a quarterly installment basis.
The R&D project was announced in August 2008 with the objective of developing an advanced beryllium oxide (BeO) enhanced nuclear fuel for commercial use in both current and future nuclear power reactors. In February 2011, the Company successfully completed initial testing including nuclear engineering simulations and thermal modeling which demonstrated the potential benefits of this fuel in light water reactor systems.
The Company also signed a memorandum of understanding (the “MOU”) with Global Nuclear Fuels (“GNF”) in February of 2011 where the parties agreed to complete a study on the application of BeO technology to boiling water reactor (“BWR”) fuel and to support IBC’s nuclear fuels research project. GNF will assist by applying the advanced oxide process to uranium fuel pellets produced by GNF’s Wilmington, NC fuel fabrication plant. GNF is a GE joint venture with Hitachi Ltd. and Toshiba Corporation and is the nuclear industry’s leading fabricator and supplier of BWR fuel and services.
The next phase of the R&D will involve mechanistic modeling, normal and transient modeling with Nuclear Regulatory Commission thermal-hydraulics, fuel performance and severe accident codes and experimental validation of thermal models. The project tasks will be performed between Purdue and TEES and will include neutronic analysis and BeO fuel development and characterization. At the conclusion of this phase it is anticipated that an industrial assembly of the BeO enhanced fuel will be approved for irradiation in a test reactor.
Existing work by Purdue and Texas A&M has shown that an advanced BeO nuclear fuel could contribute to significant annual savings by burning more efficiently than conventional nuclear fuels while increasing the demand for BeO. In addition to the cost savings, a BeO nuclear fuel could also improve the operational safety of nuclear reactors due to its superior thermal conductivity and associated decrease in risks of overheating or meltdown.
“We are excited to continue our work with both Purdue and TEES to develop a safer, more efficient fuel,” said Anthony Dutton, President and CEO of IBC. “We believe that BeO fuels are essential to ensure a more efficient, economically sound and safer nuclear power industry. With IBC support,” continued Dutton, “we aim to make Purdue and TEES’ nuclear fuels research the leader of a commercially accessible BeO fuel and to contribute to a safer and stronger nuclear future while increasing shareholder value.”
About IBC Advanced Alloys Corp.
IBC is an integrated manufacturer and distributor of rare metals (beryllium) based alloys and related products serving a variety of industries including nuclear energy, automotive, telecommunications and a range of industrial applications. IBC has 80 employees and is headquartered in Vancouver, Canada with production facilities in Indiana, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Missouri. Additionally, IBC owns prospective beryllium properties in the Western US covering approximately 9,500 hectares. IBC is creating a dynamic global beryllium and advanced alloys company. IBC’s common shares are traded on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol “IB”.IBC Advanced Alloys Corp.
Ian Tootill, Director of Corporate Communications
(604) 685-6263 ext 110
This news release was prepared by management of IBC, which takes full responsibility for its contents. The TSX Venture Exchange has not reviewed and does not accept responsibility for the adequacy of this news release. Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.This disclosure contains certain forward-looking statements that involve substantial known and unknown risks and uncertainties, certain of which are beyond the Company's control including: the impact of general economic conditions in the areas in which the Company operates, industry conditions, changes in laws and regulations including the adoption of new environmental laws and regulations and changes in how they are interpreted and enforced, increased competition, the lack of availability of qualified personnel or management, fluctuations in commodity prices, foreign exchange or interest rates, stock market volatility and obtaining required approvals of regulatory authorities. In addition there are risks and uncertainties associated with research and development activities and the regulation of nuclear fuels, therefore the Company's future results, performance or achievements could differ materially from those expressed in these forward-looking statements. All statements included in this press release that address activities, events or developments that the Company expects, believes or anticipates will or may occur in the future are forward-looking statements. These statements are based on assumptions made by the Company based on its experience, perception of historical trends, current conditions, expected future developments and other factors it believes are appropriate in the circumstances.