NRC agrees to review Westinghouse ATF topical report

January 26, 2021, 3:03PMNuclear News

Westinghouse last week announced via blog post that a topical report on its Advanced Doped Pellet Technology (ADOPT) fuel has been accepted for review by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, calling the decision a “major achievement for the advanced fuel portfolio Westinghouse is developing as part of our EnCore fuel program.”

The company submitted the report in May of last year, requesting approval by February 2022. According to Westinghouse, a draft safety evaluation from the agency is expected this summer.

From the report: ADOPT fuel is a direct replacement for standard uranium dioxide fuel, providing enhanced fuel pellet properties to enable higher burnup and improved accident tolerance, according to the topical report. The 92-page document also notes that Westinghouse has obtained “extensive operating experience with ADOPT fuel through its use as a commercial fuel product in Europe.”

Background: Westinghouse developed EnCore fuel as part of the Department of Energy’s accident tolerant fuel program. In September 2019, the company announced the completion of a first-of-a-kind installation of EnCore fuel at Exelon’s Byron plant. The fuel was installed in Unit 2 during the scheduled spring refueling outage. The two lead test assemblies contained chromium-coated zirconium cladding for enhanced oxidation and corrosion resistance, higher density ADOPT pellets for improved fuel economics, and uranium silicide pellets.

What they’re saying: “ADOPT fuel offers significant enhancements to a plant’s current fuel performance, as well as increased flexibility for long-term operations,” said Jeff Bradfute, vice president of Americas Fuel Delivery at Westinghouse. “We’re excited to continue to make advancements toward offering this solution to our U.S. customers and supporting their near- and long-term operational goals.”

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