French nuclear services giant Framatome said Tuesday it had delivered industry’s first nuclear 100 percent accident tolerant fuel assembly (ATF) to Exelon Generation’s Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant in Lusby, Maryland., building on its PROtect program that has completed preliminary tests in the United States and Switzerland.
The ATF program was developed with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). This lead fuel assembly (LFA) contains 176 chromium-coated rods and chromia-enhanced pellets, that were inserted as part of the plant’s recent spring refueling outage.
The first complete fuel assembly builds on previous work that included completing an 18-month fuel cycle test on LFA in the U.S. and Switzerland. Framatome’s PROtect ATF chromium-coated cladding and chromia-enhanced pellets are more tolerant to changes in reactor core temperatures increasing coping time, while reducing corrosion and the production of hydrogen under high-temperature conditions.
“Loading the first complete accident tolerant fuel assembly is a huge milestone for Framatome and the nuclear energy industry,” said Lionel Gaiffe, senior executive vice president, Fuel Business Unit at Framatome. “This is the next step in our PROtect program and further demonstrates our commitment to advancing nuclear fuel technology by offering more efficient and reliable solutions to support the production of low-carbon energy.”
The LFA was fabricated at Framatome’s manufacturing facility in Richland, Washington, as part of a 2019 contract with Exelon Generation. Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant’s two pressurized water reactors produce 1,850 megawatts of carbon-free energy that powers more than 1 million homes, providing approximately 80 percent of Maryland’s clean energy and powering more than 30% of all homes and businesses in the state.
Exelon Generation operates the largest U.S. fleet of zero-carbon nuclear plants with more than 18,700 megawatts from 21 reactors at 12 facilities in Illinois, Maryland, New York and Pennsylvania. Exelon Generation sets the standard for world-class power plant operations that produce clean, safe, reliable electricity, and is an active partner and economic engine in the communities it serves by providing jobs, charitable contributions and tax payments that help towns and regions grow.
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