MCLEAN, Va., Feb. 18, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Lightbridge Corporation (Nasdaq:LTBR), a leading innovator of nuclear fuel designs and provider of nuclear energy consulting services, today announced that the U.S. Patents and Trademarks Office (USPTO) has approved and issued to Lightbridge the key patent covering Lightbridge's multi-lobed metallic fuel rod design and fuel assemblies. The patent number is 8,654,917 and is available on the USPTO website at http://www.uspto.gov/.
"This new patent is the single most important patent in Lightbridge's intellectual property portfolio and is crucial to the Company's future royalty revenue stream," said Seth Grae, President and Chief Executive Officer. "We now have very broad protection for the metal fuel element that will be used in all of our fuel assembly designs. Moreover, this successful outcome secures patent protection in the U.S. – the world's largest market of pressurized water reactors currently in operation."
Lightbridge is developing and commercializing next generation nuclear fuel technology with benefits of improving the safety and economics of existing and new light water reactors. The Company has filed equivalent patent applications that are pending approval in several key countries in Europe and Asia.
"Lightbridge continues to achieve its major developmental milestones through the dedicated, significant high technology work of our extremely skilled team of nuclear engineers," Grae said. "We expect our success will translate into one or more teaming arrangements with major nuclear fuel fabricators and other strategic partners that may include cost-sharing contributions or revenue in the form of technology access fees to Lightbridge based on our intellectual property, as well as engineering support services."
In October 2013 the Company announced that it had signed a memorandum of understanding with the Babcock & Wilcox Company (NYSE:BWC) to evaluate constructing a pilot-scale fuel fabrication facility to demonstrate fabrication of Lightbridge-designed metallic fuel rods up to full length.
Unlike conventional fuel rods comprised of uranium oxide pellets that are stacked in zirconium alloy tubes, Lightbridge's proprietary multi-lobed metallic fuel rods are a solid uranium-zirconium alloy, extruded in full size lengths of 12 to 14 feet.
"Lightbridge's unique metallic fuel technology presents a compelling value proposition to a growing global industry," said James P. Malone, Lightbridge Chief Nuclear Fuel Development Officer. "Our patented metallic fuel rod design offers increased structural integrity and improved heat transfer while operating at nearly 1,000ºC cooler than conventional rods. It will deliver 10% to 17% more power from existing light water reactors and longer fuel cycles to nuclear utilities. These benefits will enhance safety, increase revenue and improve operating margins for both existing power units and new-build commercial reactors."
For a more detailed description of the value proposition of Lightbridge fuel technology, including projected incremental annual net operating cash flows and return on investment for a nuclear power plant operator at various wholesale electricity prices, visit http://bit.ly/1jLXpoY
The benefits of Lightbridge's metallic fuel design were confirmed in three independent third-party analyses published in 2012 and 2013. These analyses, which include a peer-reviewed article published in Nuclear Technology, are available for download at http://ir.ltbridge.com/.
The unique geometry of Lightbridge metallic fuel rods is illustrated in the following slide, featuring actual and schematic cross sections, as well as a test fuel assembly. Cross sections of conventional uranium oxide fuel rods and Lightbridge's metallic fuel rod are compared in the second illustration.
About Lightbridge Corporation
Lightbridge is a US nuclear energy company based in McLean, Virginia with operations in Abu Dhabi, Moscow and London. The Company develops proprietary, proliferation resistant, next generation nuclear fuel technologies for current and future nuclear reactor systems. The Company also provides comprehensive advisory services for established and emerging nuclear programs based on a philosophy of transparency, non-proliferation, safety and operational excellence. Lightbridge's breakthrough fuel technology is establishing new global standards for safe and clean nuclear power and leading the way to a sustainable energy future. Lightbridge consultants provide integrated strategic advice and expertise across a range of disciplines including regulatory affairs, nuclear reactor procurement and deployment, reactor and fuel technology and international relations. The Company leverages those broad and integrated capabilities by offering its services to commercial entities and governments with a need to establish or expand nuclear industry capabilities and infrastructure.
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Forward Looking Statements
This news release contains statements that are forward-looking in nature within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including statements regarding the Company's competitive position and product and service offerings. These statements are based on current expectations on the date of this news release and involve a number of risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ significantly from such estimates. The risks include, but are not limited to, the degree of market adoption of the Company's product and service offerings; market competition; dependence on strategic partners; and the Company's ability to manage its business effectively in a rapidly evolving market. Certain of these and other risks are set forth in more detail in Lightbridge's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Lightbridge does not assume any obligation to update or revise any such forward-looking statements, whether as the result of new developments or otherwise.
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