NuAmerican technology and power generation company, BWX Technologies Inc. has been awarded a lucrative contract by the Department of Energy to manufacture specialized nuclear fuel for a reactor project at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). The project in question center around the development of the Transformational Challenge Reactor (TCR)—a proposed additively manufactured microreactor (much like the increasingly popular small modular reactors) that would capitalize on the latest developments in nuclear technology to become the first advanced reactor operating within the United States in the last forty years. The goal of the TCR is to promote new technologies within the industry that are cost-effective, safety-enhanced, and easier to build than the current molasses-like construction parameters of our aging nuclear fleet.

BWXT’s role will be to manufacture the specialized type of nuclear fuel the TCR requires, namely Tri-structural Isotropic (TRISCO). Described as a “kernel” TRISCO is primarily composed of uranium, carbon, and oxygen. The kernel itself is then protectively surrounded by several layers of ceramic-based material designed to prevent the leakage of radioactive waste produced as a result of nuclear fission. After initially shuttering its TRISCO production line, the company announced it will restart activities with a complete operational goal of sometime in Fall 2020.

As a long time supplier of digital instrumentation to the nuclear industry, OTEK has a history of supplying commercial-grade units to BWX Technologies. Last fall the company’s nuclear arm, BWXT Nuclear Operations Group (NOG), purchased OTEK’s NTM-N unit for non-safety related applications within its Lynchburg, Virginia facility. The NTM-N is a direct “Plug & Play” replacement for the popular yet obsolescence-riddled DB40 analog meter, in addition to also serving as form, fit and function replacement for other common analogs in the industry such as the GE/Yokogawa AB30, the Weschler/Westinghouse K231, Dixson BEW51, Crompton 077/078, and a plethora of other 4” ANSI switchboard meters. The NTM-N is a single channel bar-digital meter/controller available in a loop, signal, or external power, and comes available in both plastic and metal housings. Highlight features of the model include an automatic tricolor bar display with intensity control and 4 digits at 0.6”, self-diagnostics, isolated serial I/O or USB/RS485, intensity control, math functions, a configurable bar direction of up/down/center-zero, 4 relays or O.C.T., and OTEK’s patented input fail alarm with a run time stamp that alerts the operator in the event of a lost or damaged signal. Like all our products the NTM-N carries the OTEK lifetime warranty and is highly customizable to a host of applications.

For more information on the NTM-N or OTEK’s history of dedicated service to the nuclear industry, please call our office at (520) 748-7900 or contact our sales office via email: sales@otekcorp.com.

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