EDF: Taishan’s “evolving” fuel failure would merit a shutdown and assessment in France

July 23, 2021, 12:00PMNuclear News
Taishan nuclear power plant. (Photo: EDF Energy)

If Taishan-1 were operating in France, Électricité de France would shut down the reactor in order to assess the situation in progress and stop its development, according to a July 22 press release from EDF. The 1,660-MWe French-designed EPR—the recent subject of sensational press coverage of fuel rod failures—operates in China’s Guangdong Province.

Taishan spent three days in the spotlight: What can we learn?

July 16, 2021, 7:02AMNuclear NewsSusan Gallier
Taishan’s Unit 1 was the world’s first EPR to be connected to the grid. (Photo: CGN)

The facts, once known, were uncomplicated. At Taishan-1 in China—the first Framatome EPR to be commissioned—operators detected an increase of fission product gases within the primary coolant circuit sometime after the reactor’s first refueling outage in October 2020. The cladding on a handful of the more than 60,000 fuel rods in the reactor had been breached, posing an operational issue—but not a public safety issue—for the plant.

Fuel innovation: Powering nuclear modernization

January 18, 2021, 9:35AMNuclear NewsBen Holtzman

Today’s U.S. commercial nuclear power plants are fueled with uranium dioxide pressed into cylindrical ceramic pellets—and have been for decades. These pellets are stacked inside long fuel rods made of a zirconium alloy cladding. Innovation in nuclear fuel, however, can improve safety, reduce operating costs, and further enable the development of a new generation of non-light-water reactors.