AREVA has delivered the first lead test assemblies for its next-generation pressurised water reactor fuel design, GAIA, to US utility.
The GAIA fuel is the result of a global research and development effort to meet the increasing demands of utilities in terms of safety, reliability and robustness. Advancements include better thermal performance, intrinsic tolerance to earthquakes, and enhanced mechanical behaviour. The design also features advanced cladding.
Last summer, six US utilities, including Dominion, Duke Energy, Exelon and PSEG, established a technical advisory board for the deployment of GAIA. One of the utilities is set to operate a set of eight lead test assemblies.
"This delivery is an important step in the deployment in the US market of GAIA, an innovative solution that provides an answer to some of the operational and economic challenges faced by our customers," said Marc Chevrel, executive vice president of AREVA's Fuel Business Line.
GAIA fuel has already been successfully used in the Ringhals nuclear plant in Sweden in 2012. In France, EDF and AREVA are working towards the qualification of GAIA with the short-term objective of loading lead test assemblies into an EDF reactor.
Read more about AREVA's latest BWR and PWR fuel designs (from 2013).