Advanced fuel for Calvert Cliffs

03 May 2019

Framatome, the French fuel and technology company said "two full fuel assemblies" of its Enhanced Accident Tolerant Fuel would be loaded at Exelon's Calvert Cliffs plant in February 2021.

EATF cladding tubes (Image: Framatome)

It said it was the fourth contract for the fuel, at the fourth reactor type so far.

"We are continually looking for innovative ways to enhance our reliability while maintaining the exceptional standards for safety that are held at Calvert Cliffs and across the Exelon nuclear fleet," said Calvert Cliffs site vice president Mark Flaherty.

Calvert Cliffs in Maryland has two pressurised water reactors which produce about 860 MWe each. Company statements did not reveal which of the two units the fuel would be loaded into.

Framatome said its "advanced chromium coating added to the state-of-the-art M5 Framatome zirconium alloy cladding" improves high-temperature oxidation resistance and reduces hydrogen generation during loss of cooling. The chromium coating also "greatly reduces" creep to maintain a coolable geometry and has mechanical properties that allow for more operator response time, it added. The coating also offers increased resistance to debris fretting during normal operations, it said.

In addition to chromium coated cladding, the fuel design includes chromia-enhanced fuel pellets, which have a higher density, reduced fission gas release and improved behaviour during loss of cooling, Framatome said, adding that Reduced Pellet Clad Interaction (PCI) also better supports power manoeuvring.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News