Framatome delivers accident tolerant fuel to Calvert Cliffs

3 November 2021

Inspection of GAIA EATF assembly (Photo credit: Framatome)Framatome announced that it has delivered the first 100% accident tolerant fuel assembly (ATF) to Exelon Generation’s Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant in Lusby, Maryland. 

Developed with funding from the US Department of Energy (DOE) under Framatome’s PROtect programme, the lead fuel assembly (LFA) containing 176 chromium-coated rods and chromia-enhanced pellets, was loaded during the plant’s spring refueling outage.

It was manufacted at Framatome's manufacturing facility in Richland, Washington. 

“Loading the first complete accident tolerant fuel assembly is a huge milestone for Framatome and the nuclear energy industry,” said Lionel Gaiffe, senior executive vice president of the Fuel Business Unit at Framatome. “This is the next step in our PROtect programme and further demonstrates our commitment to advancing nuclear fuel technology by offering more efficient and reliable solutions to support the production of low-carbon energy.”

The first complete fuel assembly builds on previous work that included completing an 18-month fuel cycle test on LFA in the US  and Switzerland, Framatome said. 

In early 2019, a team of experts from Framatome, Southern Company and Georgia Power placed full-length (not segmented) lead fuel rods with chromia-enhanced fuel pellets and chromium-coated cladding into Vogtle 2. Later that summer LFAs with ten full-length rods with chromia-enhanced fuel pellets and chromium-coated cladding were loaded in the Gosgen plant in Switzerland. Framatome also loaded fuel assemblies with chromium-coated rods into Entergy’s Arkansas Nuclear One unit 1 in August 2019.

Framatome says its PROtect ATF chromium-coated cladding and chromia-enhanced pellets are more tolerant to changes in reactor core temperatures increasing coping time, while reducing corrosion and the production of hydrogen under high-temperature conditions.

Tom Haaf, site vice president at Calvert Cliffs, a two-unit pressurised water reactor said: "The use of this fuel demonstrates our continued commitment to innovation and to identifying new technologies that will enhance reliability while maintaining our exceptional operational and performance standards." said Calvert Cliffs site vice president Tom Haaf.

Calvert Cliffs is one of the 12 nuclear faciliites operated by US-based Exelon Generation, which has a fleet of 21 nuclear reactors (18.7GW) at sites in Illinois, Maryland, New York and Pennsylvania.

Photo: Inspection of GAIA EATF assembly (Photo credit: Framatome)

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