France’s Framatome said on 21 July it had achieved a significant milestone toward implementing nuclear fuel at higher enrichments and burnups.
The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) recently accepted for review a topical report to apply the company’s suite of Advanced Codes and Methods to operating conditions with uranium-235 enrichments above the industry standard of 5 weight percent. This submittal is a critical step toward introducing advanced products with increased enrichments and burnups, which improve fuel utilisation to nuclear plant operators, and systematically improve safety and plant economics.
“The Framatome team continues to evolve our fuel solutions as part of our commitment to bringing advanced, economical technologies to the industry,” said Lionel Gaiffe, senior executive vice president, Fuel Business Unit at Framatome. “Submitting this topical report to the NRC is an important step in realising the full potential of our fuel technology, which will help to enhance safety and economics for utilities.”
Framatome said its advanced codes and methods provide significant operational margin gains. These margins provide nuclear plant operators with the flexibility to extend their reactor performance when coupled with the company’s nuclear fuel technology with characteristics such as higher enrichments and burnup.
“This topical report will demonstrate that Framatome can effectively model reactor behavior in the evaluation of neutronic, thermal hydraulic, loss-of-coolant-accident (LOCA), small- and large-break LOCA, and thermal mechanical performance at higher enrichments and burnup.”
Photo: Framatome operator performs a visual inspection for an advanced nuclear fuel assembly. (Credit: Framatome)