Kurt Terrani Joins Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation To Head Fuels And Materials Development Efforts

Source: USNC | Release | April 22, 2021

Former National Technical Director at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), in Oak Ridge, Tenn., Dr. Kurt A. Terrani has joined micro-reactor innovator, Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation (USNC). Terrani will serve as director in the USNC Core business unit, applying his unparalleled expertise to the company’s advanced fuels and materials development efforts including the Fully-Ceramic Micro-encapsulated (FCM) fuel.

As director of fuels and materials, Terrani will report directly to Ultra Safe Nuclear’s CEO, Francesco Venneri, and spearhead strategies to optimize and commercially produce FCM for use in Ultra Safe Nuclear Micro Modular Reactors (MMR), and potentially Gen IV reactors in various stages of design from other SMR companies. He will also manage Ultra Safe Nuclear’s global research and development efforts, and spearhead formation of the company’s fuel and core materials manufacturing capabilities.

An award-winning staff scientist and Weinberg Fellow at ORNL, Terrani helped lead the Laboratory’s groundbreaking nuclear science and engineering research efforts. He also served as the National Technical Director of the Transformational Challenge Reactor program for U.S. DOE-NE, bringing to bear advances in Additive Manufacturing (AM) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies to support development and deployment of advanced reactors.

“Ultra Safe Nuclear is on the bleeding edge of nuclear fuel and reactor design, pioneering new advances in safety and performance,” stated Terrani. “Delivering commercially available FCM and seeing it power up a new generation of micro reactors represents a watershed moment in zero-carbon energy production in the U.S. and worldwide.”

Terrani led multiple advanced fuels research and development efforts at ORNL, including managing the Nuclear Fuels Materials group. Terrani is an internationally recognized technology leader in nuclear fuels with a strong track record of combining computational and experimental techniques to develop, process, irradiate, and test a range of nuclear fuels.

Terrani will advance Ultra Safe Nuclear’s fuel-development efforts. The company is replacing the graphite matrix of traditional TRISO fuel with Silicon Carbide (SiC), an exceptionally hard material that is extremely resistant to radiation and thermal damage. The result is a safer nuclear fuel that can withstand much higher temperatures and more radiation than traditional nuclear fuel. The SiC matrix in FCM fuel provides a dense, gas-tight barrier preventing the escape of fission products even if a TRISO particle should rupture during operation. The new matrix improves the structural and containment characteristics of TRISO particles, trapping and sealing radioactive fission products permanently, preventing contamination of the environment.

Terrani will also oversee the development of new materials to be used in the next-generation advanced systems that Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation is designing for space and terrestrial applications.

About Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation

Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation (USNC) is the Seattle-based global leader in the deployment of micro reactors, and a strong vertical integrator of nuclear power technologies, entirely committed to bringing safe, commercially competitive, clean and reliable nuclear energy to markets throughout the world. The company adheres to strict inherent and intrinsic safety principles through technological innovation in fuels, materials and design: USNC is Reliable Energy. Anywhere.