Framatome ATF assembly completes first cycle at Calvert Cliffs

July 27, 2023, 2:46PMNuclear News

Framatome’s Protect EATF assembly. (Photo: Framatome)

The nuclear industry’s first 100 percent accident tolerant fuel assembly has successfully completed its initial cycle of operation at a U.S. nuclear power plant, Framatome announced earlier this week.

Following 24 months of operation at Constellation Energy’s two-unit Calvert Cliffs nuclear power plant in Lusby, Md., testing and inspections confirm that Framatome’s lead Enhanced Accident Tolerant Fuel (EATF) assembly safely withstood in-reactor conditions and performed as designed, according to the French-based company.

"The accelerated delivery and proven performance of our technology reflects the dedication and expertise of our people with the collaborative support from the industry,” said Lionel Gaiffe, senior executive vice president of Framatome’s fuel business unit. “Collectively, we are one step closer in the qualification of our Protect EATF technology for the nuclear industry. With the adoption and implementation of our enhanced technologies, our industry partners continue to demonstrate their commitment to enhance the safety and performance of their reliable, low-carbon, energy operations.”

Background: The lead EATF assembly was developed with funding from the Department of Energy under Framatome’s Protect program and fabricated at the company’s Richland, Wash., manufacturing facility as part of a 2019 contract with Constellation. Containing 176 chromium-coated rods and chromia-enhanced pellets, it was first inserted into Calvert Cliff’s 881-MWe Unit 2 pressurized water reactor during a 2021 spring refueling outage.

The assembly was removed and inspected during the unit’s 2023 spring refueling outage, then returned to the reactor for a second two-year cycle of operation.


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