April 03, 2018

NRC approval brings Framatome’s fuel technology closer to market

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has approved Framatome’s AURORA-B AOO methodology, which will allow plants to analyze a wide range of events required for licensing. Additionally, it will help operators maximize the value from the company’s new ATRIUM™ 11 fuel assembly design. Approval of this tool is a major milestone in bringing the next-generation fuel technology to the market.

Fuel assemblies are a grouping of metal-clad fuel rods that produce the energy generated by nuclear reactors. Due to the nature of the materials, and demanding conditions, accurate modeling is essential to assure safety margins are maintained by using detailed data, methods, and models.

“Requirements of the new energy economy translate to expanding demands on our nuclear operators,” said Bob Freeman, vice president of the Commercial and Customer Center for the Fuel Business Unit of Framatome Inc. “Framatome is committed to developing the technology and tools our customers need to generate electricity reliably, flexibly and efficiently.”

The AURORA-B AOO methodology analyzes all potential events required to license ATRIUM™ 11’s use in boiling water reactors. Its enhanced capabilities deliver precise, multi-dimensional modeling and handle complex fuel configurations. Additionally, its state-of-the-art techniques provide customers with a better understanding of their unique plant’s response to a wide range of events and establishes ideal operating limits for reloads of ATRIUM™ 11 fuel.

Pending final licensing approval of all necessary methods and codes by the NRC, ATRIUM TM 11 is scheduled for commercial use in spring of 2020. Upon coming to the market, operators will implement AURORA-B AOO as part of the technical basis for utilizing the fuel assembly design in their units.