March 24, 2021

Framatome to deliver PROtect advanced fuel technologies to Xcel Energy’s Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant

March 24, 2021 – Framatome and Xcel Energy recently signed a contract for the supply of PROtect enhanced accident tolerant fuel (EATF) technology and ATRIUM 11 fuel for the Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant in Monticello, Minnesota.

Evolving from traditional fuel designs, Framatome’s PROtect EATF is more tolerant to loss of active cooling in the reactor core for longer periods because its reduced oxidation behavior increases coping time. Simultaneously, this fuel offers improved performance during normal operations, allowing operators greater flexibility and efficiency.

For the first time, Framatome will deliver prototype enhanced accident tolerant fuel rods, as part of its PROtect EATF program, to a boiling water reactor (BWR). This fuel will be loaded during a 2021 refueling outage. Framatome will also begin delivering reloads of ATRIUM 11, its advanced BWR nuclear fuel design, starting in spring 2023.

“Our experts constantly advance our fuel designs to provide our customers with technologies that support efficient and reliable plant operations and help them meet their carbon-free electricity goals,” said Lionel Gaiffe, senior executive vice president, Fuel Business Unit at Framatome. “In particular, this contract represents an expansion of both our PROtect fuel technologies and further validation of our ATRIUM 11 fuel design.”

Xcel Energy is the eighth nuclear power plant to transition to the ATRIUM 11 fuel design, validating its performance and value for customers. The 11x11 rod array, complemented by the use of chromia-enhanced uranium oxide (UO2) pellets, allows operators to run their plants with more flexibility in response to fluctuating power demands while improving uranium utilization and plant efficiency, resulting in lower costs for utilities.

Xcel Energy’s Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant is a 671-megawatt, single-unit site located in Monticello, Minnesota. It generates approximately 10% of the electricity for Xcel Energy’s customers in the Upper Midwest. Xcel Energy’s goal is to provide 100% carbon-free electricity by 2050.