Framatome signed a contract with Entergy to deliver and insert lead use fuel rods that utilize chromium-coated rods into Unit 1 at Arkansas Nuclear One (ANO). Chromium coating is a feature of the accident tolerant fuel design that Framatome has been developing for several years as a part of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Enhanced Accident Tolerant Fuel (EATF) program. This work also builds on several years of collaboration with its European partners, CEA and EDF in France, as well as Goesgen Nuclear Power Plant in Switzerland. Entergy will insert the lead use rods in fall 2019.
“Our team has decades of experience researching, developing and advancing nuclear fuel technologies,” said Bob Freeman, vice president of Contracts and Services for the Fuel Business Unit of Framatome in the U.S. “Our enhanced accident tolerant fuel design builds on this experience and provides operators more time to respond in the event of an emergency, while improving fuel performance during normal operations.”
The addition of a chromium coating to the fuel's existing alloy cladding offers advantages, including improved resistance to oxidation at high temperatures, reduced hydrogen generation in accident conditions, and increased wear and debris resistance in normal operations.
“Maintaining operational excellence, while safely producing low-cost, carbon-free electricity, is at the core of what we do at Entergy,” said John Elnitsky, senior vice president, Engineering and Technical Services at Entergy Nuclear. “These chromium-coated rods will not only help improve fuel reliability for our customers but will also advance this important technology for our industry.”
Since 2014, the experienced experts at Framatome have driven the company’s program, building on the collective knowledge, skills and expertise of nuclear professionals from utilities, U.S. and French Institute national labs, universities and industry organizations around the world. Support from DOE has allowed Framatome to significantly beat its initial target of 2023 to deploy this technology, further protecting and advancing nuclear power.