Framatome signed a collaboration agreement with EDF to test its enhanced accident tolerant fuel (EATF) technology in an operating nuclear power plant in France. As part of its PROtect EATF program, Framatome will manufacture and deliver four lead fuel assemblies (LFAs) that will be inserted in one of the EDF’s reactors in 2023.
Supported by the French Recovery Plan and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Framatome’s EATF technology is based on advanced chromium coating applied to zirconium alloy cladding, and chromia-enhanced fuel pellets. This innovative technology is designed to improve the safety for nuclear plant operators in the case of an unlikely event, while improving fuel performance during normal operations.
Framatome, EDF and CEA have collectively worked on the chromium coated cladding concept for nearly a decade. Framatome’s development efforts led to the first lead fuel rods inserted in a Swiss and U.S. reactor in 2019, followed by the first complete fuel assembly comprised of 100% chromia-enhanced pellets and chromium-coated rods delivered and inserted at a U.S. nuclear power plant in the spring outage of 2021, and the recent completion of the second 18-month fuel cycle in a U.S. operating plant. In total, Framatome’s PROtect EATF solutions have been implemented in four different nuclear power plants in the U.S. and one in Europe.
(Source and image: Framatome – Framatome technicians handling EATF rods)