Framatome advanced fuel technology reaches regulatory milestone

22 July 2021

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission has 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 percent. The report is a critical step towards implementing nuclear fuel at higher enrichments and burnups, the company said.

A worker visually inspects a Framatome advanced nuclear fuel assembly (Image: Framatome)

Increasing uranium enrichment and burnups improve fuel utilisation, and systematically improve safety and plant economics. Framatome says it is committed to bringing advanced, economical technologies to the industry,

Lionel Gaiffe, senior executive vice president of the company's Fuel Business Unit, said. "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's advanced codes and methods provide significant operational margin gains, giving nuclear plant operators the flexibility to extend their reactor performance when coupled with the company's nuclear fuel technology with characteristics such as higher enrichments and burnup. The topical report will demonstrate that Framatome can effectively model reactor behaviour 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, it said.

Framatome is owned by the EDF Group (75.5%), Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (19.5%) and Assystem (5%).

Researched and written by World Nuclear News