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Lightbridge Expected to Benefit From EPA Clean Power Plan

MCLEAN, Va., Aug. 05, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Demand for advanced metallic nuclear fuel designed by Lightbridge Corporation (NASDAQ:LTBR) would likely increase due to incentives in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan for boosting generation from existing nuclear power plants. Depending on fuel cycle length, Lightbridge’s proprietary metallic fuel can provide 10% to 17% more power from existing pressurized water reactors (PWRs).

“The EPA’s final plan clearly recognizes the value of commercial nuclear energy in addressing the increasing demand for low-carbon base load electricity and mitigating the negative effects of greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels,” said Lightbridge President and Chief Executive Officer Seth Grae. “Lightbridge fuel has been shown to deliver what nuclear utilities today want most – enhanced economic competitiveness and increased safety margins. Compared with conventional nuclear fuel, only Lightbridge metallic fuel can offer meaningful power uprates and longer fuel cycles that will provide the lowest levelized cost per kilowatt hour on the grid.”

A graph illustrating independent analysis that confirms Lightbridge Fuel's Lowest Levelized Cost for Incremental Clean Power on the Grid is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/776e6336-4bf8-4ef5-ac16-b414b6db990d

The Clean Power Plan calls for a 32% reduction from 2005 levels in carbon pollution from the utility power industry by 2030. States may select the measures they prefer to achieve reductions in carbon dioxide emissions, including energy efficiency technology, investment in renewable energy, emissions trading and working with other states on multi-state approaches. The 1,560-page plan reflects more than 4 million comments submitted to the agency beginning in June 2014.

As described on page 388 of the plan, “Generation from…capacity uprates at existing nuclear units would still be able to help sources meet emission rate-based standards of performance through the creation and use of credits…and would help sources meet mass-based standards of performance through reduced (use) of fossil generating capacity leading to reduced CO2 emissions at affected electric generating units.”

Lightbridge nuclear fuel technology is on track for use in a commercial power reactor in 2020 to 2021, Grae said. The advantages of the unique composition and geometry of Lightbridge metallic fuel rods have been confirmed in independent third-party analyses to include:

  • A 1,000°C reduction in average fuel operating temperature, compared to conventional uranium dioxide pellet fuel, resulting in dramatic safety improvements;
  • Improved heat transfer and fluid flow, increased structural strength, and improved performance during transients and accidents;
  • 10% more power and longer fuel cycles or up to 17% more power with the same fuel cycle length for existing PWRs;
  • Up to 30% more power with the same fuel cycle length for new build PWRs;
  • Increased revenue and improved profit margins for existing nuclear power units;
  • Lower total levelized cost per kilowatt-hour for new build reactors; and
  • Increased competitiveness of nuclear power versus fossil or renewable energy sources.

“While its Clean Power Plan stops short of including nuclear in its ‘best system of emission reduction,’ due to the cost and time involved in reactor construction,” Grae said, “the EPA acknowledges that ‘existing nuclear generation helps make existing (carbon dioxide) emissions lower than they would otherwise be…’ and recognizes the less costly and quicker benefits of uprating an existing reactor.”

The commercial nuclear energy industry is projected to grow rapidly at a time of rising global demand for reliable, carbon-free, base load electric power. There are currently 436 operable civil nuclear reactors in 30 countries around the world, with 67 reactors under construction and 488 on order, planned or proposed, according to the World Nuclear Association. By 2040, the International Energy Agency projects a 58% increase in nuclear capacity from a combination of power uprates and reactor construction.

About Lightbridge Corporation

Lightbridge is a nuclear energy company based in McLean, Virginia. The Company develops proprietary next generation nuclear fuel technologies for current and future nuclear reactor systems. 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. 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 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.

Important recent milestones achieved by Lightbridge include approval and issuance of key patents by the United States, Australia and South Korea for the Company’s multi-lobed metallic fuel rod design and fuel assemblies. In April 2015, nuclear fuel managers at Dominion Generation (NYSE:D), Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK), Exelon Generation (NYSE:EXC) and Southern Company (NYSE:SO) asked the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to prepare to review Lightbridge’s fuel design, in advance of an expected application in 2017 to use the Company’s fuel in a U.S. reactor as early as 2020 (http://pbadupws.nrc.gov/docs/ML1513/ML15134A092.pdf). The NRC relies on communications from U.S. utilities to adjust Commission staffing levels and budgets in anticipation of regulatory review of licensing applications.

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Forward Looking Statements

With the exception of historical matters, the matters discussed in this news release are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including statements regarding the Company's competitive position, the timing of demonstration testing and commercial production, the Company’s and product and service offerings and the expected market for the Company’s 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; demand for fuel for nuclear reactors; and the Company's ability to manage its business effectively in a rapidly evolving market, as well as other factors described 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. Readers are cautioned not to put undue reliance on forward-looking statements.



CONTACT: 
 Gary Sharpe Investor Relations and Corporate Communications Lightbridge Corporation 571-730-1213, direct gsharpe@ltbridge.com

Source:Lightbridge Corporation