UK-based materials technology company Lucideon has signed an agreement with National Nuclear Laboratory’s (NNL) Advanced Fuels Cycle Programme (AFCP) as a research and development partner.

The AFCP is part of the UK Government’s £180m Nuclear Innovation Programme. It focuses on the development of new technologies and processes that could contribute towards a reduction in the lifecycle costs of nuclear energy.

The programme will also focus on the development of accident tolerant fuels, fast reactor fuels, nuclear data development, separations technology, modelling, and fabrication.

As part of the £350,000 project, Lucideon and NNL will partner for advanced nuclear fuel cycle research.

Lucideon believes its new partnership will further its nuclear work. Business manager Tim Abbott said: “As a development and commercialisation organisation, specialising in materials technologies and processes, Lucideon is uniquely placed to partner with NNL on the AFCP programme.

“The scope of the programme recognises Lucideon’s world-leading materials and process capabilities and we look forward to developing advanced ceramic technologies from our facilities in Stoke-on-Trent.

“The team at Lucideon is proud to have been selected to join this programme. It’s an exciting step for the business and we are looking forward to the challenge.”

NNL hopes to learn about flash sintering from Lucideon

At the same time, NNL intends to utilise Lucideon’s expertise in flash (field enhanced) sintering technology. This process uses an electric field applied to a ceramic substance at specific temperatures to improve production of advanced nuclear fuels. Lucideon has made a large investment in the process.

Additionally, the company will collaborate with the University of Manchester, which will provide resources to support the development.

NNL technical director for AFCP Paul Nevitt said: “It is great to have Lucideon as part of the AFCP UK team, which now includes over 50 different organisations in total.

“This is a crucial programme for the UK to develop the capability and capacity to support future nuclear ambitions and support the delivery of the UK’s legally binding net-zero 2050 commitments.”