Accueil Medias Press Release Framatome teams with General Atomics to restart world’s unique fuel fabrication facility for TRIGA research reactors 
Press Release

Framatome teams with General Atomics to restart world’s unique fuel fabrication facility for TRIGA research reactors 

February 03, 2022 | 1 min |
Topic: fuel

February 3, 2022 – Framatome and General Atomics recently celebrated the reopening of the fuel manufacturing facility dedicated to TRIGA research reactors. The renovations were done to support new requirements by the U.S. Department of Energy (US DOE). The facility received the authorization to restart from the French regulator ASN and resumed operation on December 20.

Following an extensive renovation, this unique facility houses the latest industrial equipment and utilizes modernized processes to fabricate TRIGA fuel at Framatome CERCA in Romans-sur-Isère, France. This refurbishment project launched in 2018, with funding by the US DOE and TRIGA International’s capital investments.

Triga International logo

“Experiential learning and research development at nuclear research reactors are imperative in advancing technologies and building the competencies and skills of the experts and the future workforce of the nuclear industry,” said François Gauché, vice president of CERCA at Framatome and President of TRIGA International, a joint-venture between Framatome and General Atomics. “With support from the DOE and our partnership with General Atomics, Framatome will make available their expertise in the field of metallic fuels to deliver fuel to the TRIGA facilities in the US and in other countries, facilitating extended operation.”

“The restart of fabrication at the TRIGA International’s fuel fabrication facility assures that all TRIGA reactors will have a source of fresh replacement fuel due to the support provided by the DOE during the upgrade process,” said Amory Quinn, vice president of General Atomics. “It guarantees that research and learning capability provided by the TRIGA reactor will continue for the foreseeable future at certain institutes of higher learning.”

Originally shut down in 2012 for refurbishment, the TRIGA workshop is unique, with activities covering all the industry fields from metallurgy, machining and welding. The dedicated Framatome project team carried out the work on site to accommodate all equipment for the upstream and downstream manufacturing processes involving enriched uranium. The workshop is now ready to start fabrication and delivery of TRIGA fuel elements.

Framatome and General Atomics created the TRIGA International SAS joint venture in 1995 to market TRIGA fuel elements manufactured at CERCA Romans. TRIGA is a nuclear reactor model designed by General Atomics and used for research and training activities. More than 60 units have been built around the world and about 30 are still in operation.

Smelting of a depleted Zirconium-Uranium alloy ingot
Smelting of a depleted Zirconium-Uranium alloy ingot


About Framatome

Framatome is an international leader in nuclear energy recognized for its innovative, digital and value added solutions for the global nuclear fleet. With worldwide expertise and a proven track record for reliability and performance, the company designs, services and installs components, fuel, and instrumentation and control systems for nuclear power plants. Its more than 16,000 employees work every day to help Framatome’s customers supply ever cleaner, safer and more economical low-carbon energy.

Framatome is owned by the EDF Group (75.5%), Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI – 19.5%) and Assystem (5%).