Accident Tolerant Fuel in Nuclear Plant

Global Nuclear Fuels (GNF), a joint venture led by GE and Hitachi Ltd. that provides fuel for boiling water reactors and fuel related services worldwide, claims to use ARMOR zirconia and a lead-resistant test. The impact of IronClad emergency fuel solutions components were installed at the Clinton Nuclear Power Plant in Exelon, Illinois.

The US Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy awarded a total of $ 111.2 million to three companies, GE, Westinghouse and Framatome, at the end of 2018 to develop accident-resistant fuels. The awards will run until January 31, 2021. The US Department of Energy plans to provide additional funding of $ 55.6 million in fiscal 2020 and receive additional funding of $ 30 million in 2021, subject to Congressional approval.

Accident Tolerance Fuel (ATF) is designed to directly and significantly improve the reliability and safety of nuclear fuel and the economics of nuclear reactor operations. One of the most important properties of ATF is the improvement of heat resistance. The ATF also allows for increased flexibility to power reactors up and down without exceeding safety margins.

The main purpose of the GE Awards is to continue to develop the iron chrome aluminum (FeCrAl) alloy cladding under the trademark IronClad, and continue to develop its cladding scheme for the zirconium alloy under the ARMOR trademark. The company is also expected to study ceramic metal fuels based on uranium dioxide. One condition for receiving the award was the installation of an initial lead test assembly in a commercial power plant in the United States during the first 14-month budget period, which would probably meet the requirements of the Clinton project.

The lead test kit contains three variants of the GNF IronClad solution. In 2018, Georgia Electric’s factory hatch was fitted with unrefueled IronClad lead test rods and refueled ARMOR coated zirconium clad lead test rods. However, the Clinton component was the first ferritic steel-clad component to be installed in a commercial reactor. These components are manufactured at GNF’s plant in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Compared with existing solutions, IronClad solutions are designed to provide strong oxidation resistance and excellent material properties under certain conditions. The low oxidation rate of the material at higher temperatures further increases the safety margin. GE Research supported the development of one of the Clinton-installed IronClad solutions by providing engineering support and manufacturing components for fuel rod manufacturing.

GNF’s ARMOR-coated zirconium coating also has oxidation resistance and excellent material properties under various conditions, making it an attractive technology to increase the margin of safety margins. In addition, ARMOR is said to enhance the resistance of the fuel rod to debris wear.

Work on ATF is also ongoing in other parts of the world. Rosetom TVEL’s fuel company, which supplies nuclear fuel for 72 reactors in 14 countries, including the Russian fleet, completed the ATO at the MIR research reactor at the Ulyanovsk National Institute of Atomic Reactors in October. The first stage of testing. Russian state. This achievement is expected to pave the way for testing at commercial nuclear power plants in Russia at the end of this year.

Source: Various

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