Upgrades completed at world’s only TRIGA fuel fabrication facility

April 8, 2021, 12:02PMNuclear News
The Maryland University Training Reactor, one of 12 TRIGA reactors currently operating at universities in the United States. Photo: University of Maryland

TRIGA International, the only supplier of TRIGA reactor fuel in the world, recently completed a major renovation project at its fuel fabrication facility in Romans, France. The Department of Energy, which provided both technical and financial support for the project, said the upgrades ensure the continued operation of 36 TRIGA reactors around the world, including 18 in the United States.

Standing for Training, Research, Isotopes General Atomics, TRIGA reactors are primarily used, as the name suggests, for training students, various research projects, and isotope production. There are 36 TRIGA reactors around the world. Of those 18 in the United States, 12 of them are located at universities. The DOE manages all nuclear fuel that is provided to these reactors through its Research Reactor Infrastructure program within the department’s Office of Nuclear Energy.

U.S. upgrades: The DOE provided nearly $16 million in support of the French facility's upgrades. The National Nuclear Security Administration provided $5 million in initial funding to perform feasibility studies and assist with the design, installation, and removal of equipment. The Office of Nuclear Energy provided more than $10 million starting in 2015 to complete the work to get the production line up and running.

When in France: According to the DOE, TRIGA International’s French facility required significant upgrades to keep up with current safety regulations. The facility was taken offline in 2014 to begin a seven-year, $80 million renovation project.

Renovations to the French facility were completed in March, and the company is now waiting on approval from the French regulator before the production of fuel can begin, the DOE announced on April 6.

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