MCLEAN, Va., July 2, 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 Commonwealth of Australia Patents Office has approved and issued to Lightbridge the key patent covering Lightbridge's multi-lobed metallic fuel rod design and fuel assemblies. To view documentation verifying the patent, enter the patent number – xxxxxxxx 2007363064– at http://pericles.ipaustralia.gov.au/ols/auspat/, the Australian online patents register.
"This new patent is the Australian counterpart to our U.S. patent issued in February, and helps protect Lightbridge technology at a key juncture in the projected growth of the global commercial nuclear energy market," said Seth Grae, President and Chief Executive Officer. "This is another major milestone in the development of our fuel assembly designs and helps to secure the Company's future royalty revenue stream."
Lightbridge is developing and commercializing next generation nuclear fuel technology with benefits of improving the safety and economics of existing and new pressurized light water reactors. The Company has filed equivalent patent applications that are pending approval in additional countries in Europe and Asia.
"We expect our ongoing success will translate into one or more teaming arrangements with major nuclear fuel fabricators and other strategic partners in 2014 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," Grae said
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.
There are currently 435 operable civil nuclear reactors in 32 countries around the world, with an additional 71 reactors under construction, according to the World Nuclear Association. By 2035, the International Energy Agency of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development projects a 60% increase in nuclear capacity from a combination of power uprates and reactor construction. The Australian government is actively debating whether to develop commercial nuclear energy infrastructure to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the nation where approximately 80% of electricity is produced by coal-fired plants. Australian mines provided 12% of the world uranium supply in 2012.
"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.
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A graphic accompanying this release is available at http://media.globenewswire.com/cache/24486/file/27390.pdf
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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