Framatome receives US NRC approval to transport higher enriched fuel

28 February 2022

France’s Framatome announced it has achieved a significant milestone for the delivery of nuclear fuel at higher enrichment and burnup levels.

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) recently approved a licence amendment allowing Framatome’s shipping containers to transport fresh nuclear fuel assemblies in the US having U-235 enrichments up to 8 weight%.

This approval is a "critical step" toward delivering advanced products that improve electricity generation and fuel utilisation to nuclear plant operators, Framatome said.

This licence amendment enables Framatome to use its NRC-licensed shipping containers to transport nuclear fuel with enrichments above the industry standard 5 weight% to US customers.

“This regulatory milestone exemplifies our industry leadership and readiness to deliver higher enriched fuels for our customers,” said Lionel Gaiffe, senior executive vice president, Fuel Business Unit at Framatome. “The NRC approval is essential as we develop fuel products that will systematically enhance safety, reliability and plant economics for the nuclear industry.”

Nuclear fuel with higher enrichment and burn-up capabilities provide significant operational margin gains and provide greater flexibility for reactor performance. The added flexibility allows nuclear operators to extend cycle times and design more efficient core configurations while increasing plant economics.

This approval builds on another recent regulatory milestone for Framatome in its pursuit to bring higher enriched fuel to the industry. In June 2021, the NRC accepted for review a topical report to apply Framatome’s suite of Advanced Codes and Methods to operating conditions with uranium-235 enrichments above the industry standard of 5 weight%. These milestones with the NRC position Framatome as a leader in providing innovative fuel technology with significant margin gains for nuclear plant operators. 


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