Westinghouse doped fuel pellets move towards commercialisation

22 January 2021

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has accepted for review a topical report on Westinghouse Advanced Doped Pellet Technology (ADOPT) Fuel, which the company has said is a major achievement for the advanced fuel portfolio it is developing as part of its EnCore fuel programme.

(Image: Westinghouse)

Topical Report WCAP-18482-P/WCAP-18482-NP, Revision 0 was originally submitted to the NRC in May 2020, and a draft safety evaluation is expected early in the summer of this year, Westinghouse has said.

ADOPT fuel pellets have been designed to improve fuel cycle economics and accident tolerance. The fuel pellets are doped with small amounts of chromia and alumina, enabling them to achieve greater uranium efficiency and a 50% lower oxidation rate compared to conventional uranium oxide pellets. The pellets are suitable for use in all Westinghouse and Combustion Engineering pressurised water reactor and boiling water reactor designs and are compatible with all zirconium-based cladding materials and fuel enrichments. So far, they have been delivered to more than 25 regions worldwide, according to Westinghouse.

"ADOPT fuel offers significant enhancements to a plant's current fuel performance, we well as increased flexibility for long-term operations," Westinghouse vice president of Americas Fuel Delivery Jeff Bradfute said. "We're excited to continue to make advancements towards offering this solution to our US customers and supporting their near- and long-term operational goals."

EnCore is one of the fuel projects to receive support through the US Department of Energy's accident tolerant fuel programme, which aims to develop new cladding and fuel materials that can better tolerate the loss of active cooling in the core, while maintaining or improving fuel performance and economics during normal operations. Lead test rods loaded with ADOPT fuel pellets were inserted into Exelon's Byron unit 2 in the spring of 2019.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News