April 19, 2018

Framatome receives two patent awards for nuclear innovations

Framatome Inc. received two patent awards over the last year for innovations that solve unique challenges in the nuclear energy industry. The patents address inventions to improve the inspection and operation of components in nuclear energy facilities.

“Our employees consistently seek to advance nuclear technology in ways that will benefit our customers’ operations and the field as a whole,” said Craig Ranson, senior vice president of the Installed Base Business Unit at Framatome in North America. “These patents demonstrate Framatome’s investment in and our team’s commitment to developing innovative and cost-effective solutions to enhance our customers’ nuclear energy operations.”

The first innovation involves a tool, the angle beam ultrasonic probe, that more efficiently inspects the integrity of fasteners on reactor vessel heads. This patent allows the strength of the bolts to be evaluated by sending ultrasonic beams that scan the piece and detect flaws. This method better examines the fasteners in their environments and saves time and money by eliminating unnecessary replacements. Mike Hacker, technical consultant, and Mike Key, principal engineer, both part of Framatome’s Installed Base Business Unit in the United States, developed the project over a four-year period.

The second innovation advances the operation of light water reactors. This method models the changing layers of mineral deposits found on the coolant piping and circuits that carry water in nuclear reactors. These deposits can reduce efficient heat transfer and increase corrosion. This technology allows operators to better understand mineral deposits, helping them develop mitigative or corrective actions. Joseph Wyatt, advisory engineer of Framatome’s Installed Base Business Unit in the United States, as well as John Griffith, retired advisory engineer, and Dr. Mike Pop, retired materials and chemistry expert, developed this method.

To date, Framatome in the United States has been awarded more than 265 patents, which are credited to more than 400 inventors.