Westinghouse launches its EnCore Fuel

14 June 2017

Westinghouse Electric Company yesterday announced the formal launch of its "accident-tolerant fuel solution", EnCore Fuel, during the company's Fuel Users' Group Meeting. EnCore Fuel is intended to offer "design-basis-altering safety, greater uranium efficiency and estimated economic benefits up to hundreds of millions of dollars" to Westinghouse's nuclear fuel customers.

Delivered in two phases, the initial EnCore Fuel product consists of coated cladding containing uranium silicide pellets, which Westinghouse says distinguishes the fuel from other accident-tolerant fuel solutions thanks to their higher density and higher thermal conductivity.

"We are leveraging the breadth and depth of our resources, combined with US Department of Energy awards, as well as utility funding, to collaborate with respected industry partners in order to deliver EnCore Fuel to the market on an aggressive, accelerated schedule," Michele DeWitt, Westinghouse's senior vice president of nuclear fuel, said. "We are on track to manufacture EnCore Fuel lead test rods as early as 2018, with lead test assembly insertion planned starting in 2022," he added.

The reduced oxidation and hydrogen pickup of the coated cladding during normal operation (250°C to 350°C) is intended to prolong cladding life, provide enhanced resistance to wear and increase margins, the company said. The coated cladding also supports extended exposure to high temperature steam and air (1300°C to 1400°C) during a loss-of-coolant accident, reactivity-initiated accident and beyond-design-basis conditions.

The second phase of EnCore Fuel features silicon-carbide cladding, which is intended to offer significant safety benefits in beyond-design-basis accident scenarios, the company said. This is enabled by its extremely high melting point (2800°C or higher) and minimal reaction with water, resulting in minimal generation of heat and hydrogen in beyond-design-basis accident scenarios, it said.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News

Filed under: Nuclear fuel, USA, Innovation