Accident-Tolerant Fuel Installed At Byron 2

Nuclear supply giant Westinghouse Electric Company announced this week, along with Exelon Generation Company, that a first-of-a-kind installation of accident-tolerant fuel had been completed at Exelon’s Byron Unit 2 nuclear power plant in Ogle County, Illinois.

Byron NPPThe fuel was developed with several partners with help from $93 million in Department of Energy grants focused on improving accident risks in nuclear plant fuel. 

This installation marks the first insertion of EnCore Fuel rod assemblies into a commercial nuclear power plant. These two lead test assemblies contain chromium-coated zirconium cladding for enhanced oxidation and corrosion resistance, higher density pellets for improved fuel economics, and uranium silicide pellets.

”EnCore Fuel has the potential to significantly increase public safety through revolutionary new materials, while at the same time improving the economics of plant operation through longer fuel cycles and enhanced flexible power operation capability,” Westinghouse said.

Byron Site Vice President Mark Kanavos said Exelon Generation had spent years researching fuel options with a focus on safety. “We are continually looking for innovative ways to enhance our exceptional safety standards, including piloting new, safer fuel technologies,” Kanavos said.

Westinghouse Electric Company in January announced the $93 million grant that was to go into development of accident-tolerant fuel for both short term and long term applications. The funding was designated for Westinghouse, General Atomics and for academic and national laboratory partners. One goal of the project included development of lead test rods of silicon carbide cladding with the aim of introducing them to the U.S. commercial sector by 2022.

 The project is one of many supported by the U.S. DOE and other nations to develop accident-tolerant fuel for nuclear plants.

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