Investors sent shares of Lightbridge Corporation (NASDAQ:LTBR) higher today after the US Patent and Trademark office awarded a key patent to the nuclear fuel technology company related to its metallic nuclear fuel assembly design.
The patent extends Lightbridge’s patent portfolio in the US to cover an entire metallic fuel assembly design for Western-type pressurized water reactors, which comprise two-thirds of those in operation around the world.
In the wake of the awarding of the patent, Seth Grae, Lightbridge’s president and chief executive, said the company is moving forward with its plans to begin testing of its fuel in a US research reactor by 2020 and to deploy a lead test rod in a US commercial reactor by 2021.
“The combination of the lead test rod and irradiation testing in US research reactors will allow us to conduct the entire testing program in the United States,” Grae said. “We expect later this year or early next year to announce formal arrangements for the lead test rod program with a US nuclear utility.”
The advantages of Lightbridge’s advanced metallic fuel technology include improved reactor operating economics, safety, reduced waste and extended licensed reactor life.
Based in Reston, Virginia, Lightbridge is a nuclear fuel technology development group, which develops nuclear fuel for current and future reactors.
Lightbridge shares rose nearly 5% in afternoon trade to US$1.10.