September 21, 2018

Framatome and CNNC: first fuel cladding tubes delivery for “Hualong-1” nuclear power plant

On September 20, Framatome and CNNC, through their joint venture CAST, delivered on time and on scheduled, the first batch of fuel cladding tubes for Fuqing nuclear power plant unit 5 “Hualong-1”.

During the delivery ceremony taking place in Songjiang, Shanghai, in which participated numerous guests from Shanghai governments, CNNC, CNEIC, CJNF, Everbright Jiabao Group, Embassy of France in China, Framatome, CAST’s customers and employees. Three trucks transported more than 50,000 M5TM zirconium alloy tubes from CAST factory to CJNF, the CNNC plant involved into the high-performance nuclear fuel assemblies.

I am proud to attend to this fuel cladding tubes delivery ceremony” said Lionel Gaiffe, SEVP BU Fuel of Framatome. “This first batch is another example of Operational excellence: delivery on time, on schedule and with the quality requested. This first core delivery is a concrete proof of the technology transfer of M5TM cladding tube production with our site of Paimboeuf in France. This is a confirmation of Framatome’s support to CAST industrial capacity increase.”

These zirconium alloy tubes will contribute to the safe and efficient operation of “Hualong-1” plant. After a 2-year continuous and stable production, 51,494 cladding tubes will be delivered from the CAST plant, representing 198 km of tubes, corresponding to 185 Fuel Assemblies. The actual capacity of the plant is 1,500 km of cladding tubes per year.

Congratulation for this first batch delivered which will support “Hualong-1” importance in China and lies in the security of M5TM zirconium tube supply”, said Huang Mingang, Vice President of CNNC. “CAST is increasing its capacity to supply all PWR nuclear power plants in China within 1-2 years, thus achieving the strategic goal of self-supply of nuclear class zirconium cladding tubes.

The celebration of the first fuel cladding tubes delivery for “Hualong-1” nuclear power plant is an important symbol of Sino-French cooperation nuclear energy. CAST project aims to achieve the local production of nuclear class zirconium tubes, and ensure the supply of fuel assemblies in domestic nuclear power plants.

 

About Zirconium

Zirconium is the leading material for nuclear fuel assemblies used in light water reactors (PWRs and BWRs) because it is transparent to neutrons, it has good temperature performance, and it withstands corrosion.

Zirconium alloys are used to produce the main mechanical components of nuclear fuel assemblies. The cladding tubes, once filled with uranium pellets and sealed, form the fuel rods. The guide tubes and grids, once assembled, form the rigid structure of the fuel assembly: the skeleton.

About Tubes

Cladding tubes: thin tubes designed to contain uranium pellets and facilitate the transfer of heat to the nuclear reactor water.

Guide tubes: these are distinct from cladding tubes and serve a dual purpose: they form the structure of fuel assemblies and enable the insertion of control rods into into fuel assemblies during operation to regulate the fission reaction.