Areva NP awarded patents for innovative technologies

24 March 2017

Areva NP has recently been awarded three patents for innovations in the fuel operation as well as anticorrosion and maintenance tooling fields. The patents were for innovations developed by Areva employees in the USA.

The first patent is for a "method of operating a power generator based on noble metal induced oxidation of a heat transfer surface". The patent, Areva said, describes a new method to evaluate the effect of platinum deposits that accumulate on boiling water reactor (BWR) fuel pins. The technique was developed over six years by John Riddle, technical consultant for Areva NP; Mike Pop, a retired materials and chemistry expert with Areva; and Carola Gregorich from the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). Areva noted the innovative method exceeds current EPRI requirements for fuel risk assessment.

"Success in a technical industry like ours is grounded in a culture of innovation and creativity."

Marty Pearce,
Areva Inc

The second patent describes apparatus and a method for limiting stress corrosion cracking in a pressurised water reactor (PWR) through the addition of low-level concentrations of zinc compounds into the reactor coolant system. It also includes a technique for evaluating and predicting the treatment's effectiveness. Areva said the invention reduces plant costs and minimises risks to nuclear fuel residing in the reactor's core. The patent was awarded to Steve Fyfitch, a technical consultant and fellow in the Areva NP materials group, and Brian Lockamon, principal engineer at Areva NP's installed base business unit in the USA.

The third patent, awarded to former Areva NP engineer Jason Cooke, is for a tool designed to ensure proper plant operation position of the core shroud head bolt assemblies of a BWR. The tool exerts an upward pulling force on stuck retainers to return them to the locking position around the nut. The patent is for technical improvements to an existing tool, also patented to Cooke.

Areva Inc chief technology officer Marty Pearce said, "Success in a technical industry like ours is grounded in a culture of innovation and creativity. Areva NP's reputation for solving unique customer problems can be attributed to our employees. We are proud to have people who are creative problem solvers always looking for new ways to help our customers and the industry achieve operational excellence."

In 2016, Areva applied for 11 patents and also had six patents awarded. To date, Areva NP has been awarded more than 260 patents, which are credited to more than 400 Areva inventors in the USA.

In its 2015 Reference Document, Areva said, "Several years ago, Areva set the goal of building a portfolio of patent rights consistent with its strategies and right-sized in terms of both quality and quantity, in keeping with the group's research and development efforts.

It continued: "Today, the group has a portfolio of some 8000 patents derived from more than 1300 inventions pertaining to the nuclear fuel cycle, nuclear reactors, renewable energies and related services."

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News