Background information on the license modification request for Advanced Nuclear Fuels to fabricate VVER fuel

The Advanced Nuclear Fuels GmbH (ANF) is the operator of the Framatome Lingen plant and is and will remain a hundred percent subsidiary of Framatome GmbH.

ANF was created in 1975 and currently employs around 400 people in Lingen. ANF fabricates fuel rods and assemblies for pressurized water reactors (PWR)* and boiling water reactors (BWR)** for customers across the globe.

Several European utilities operate Russian-designed VVER*** reactors which require fuel of a different design. In the international context created by the war in Ukraine, European utilities operating VVER reactors have asked Framatome to contribute to the development of a sovereign European fuel solution to avoid disruption to critical services and reduce dependency on imports from outside of Europe.

Framatome is pursuing a strategic, step-by-step approach:

As a first step, Framatome will manufacture and market VVER fuel identical to that already present in the VVER reactors in Europe.

  • For the operators of VVER reactors in Europe, this new fuel supply, based on the proven, reliable and efficient incumbent fuel design, does not require any technical or legal change from their respective Safety Authorities because the fuel will be identical to what is already in their reactors.
  • Framatome has applied for a license to adapt its Lingen plant to fabricate this hexagonal shape fuel assemblies for VVER reactors in Europe. The license application includes some changes to a few manufacturing and testing equipment and the installation of some additional equipment in existing buildings to enable these VVER fuel elements manufacturing.

In parallel, as a medium-term strategy Framatome is investing and moving forward with the development, qualification, licensing and fabrication of a 100% European VVER fuel own-design. The qualification of a new design requires several years within the framework of regulatory and usual certification practices.

The license application related documents have been published by the NMU**** describe the requested changes and are publicly available.

This development by Framatome to ensure full diversification of VVER fuel supply for European utilities is in line with the recommendations of the Euratom Security of Supply Agency (ESA).


*PWR: A pressurized water reactor (PWR) is a type of light-water nuclear reactor. PWRs constitute the large majority of the world’s nuclear power plants. In a PWR, the reactor core heats water, which does not boil. This hot water then exchanges heat with a lower pressure system, which turns water into steam that drives the turbine.

**BWR: A boiling water reactor (BWR) is a type of light water nuclear reactor used for the generation of electrical power. It is the second most common type of electricity-generating nuclear reactor after the pressurized water reactor (PWR). In a BWR, the reactor core heats water, which turns to steam and then drives a steam turbine.

***VVER: The water-water energetic reactor (WWER) or VVER is a series of pressurized water reactor designs originally developed in the Soviet Union, and today’s Russia, with horizontal steam generators and employing light water as coolant and moderator.

****NMU: Lower Saxony Ministry for the Environment, Energy, Building and Climate Protection