July 25, 2022 – Framatome’s CERCA Research Innovation Laboratory (CRIL) received the SFEN Technological Innovation Award for manufacturing the world’s first uranium-molybdenum and uranium-silicon objects using 3D printing technology. The award was presented during the French Society of Nuclear Energy (SFEN) conference in June.
“It is an honor to receive this prestigious recognition that further demonstrates our commitment and ambition to advance fuel products for our customers and for the future of our industry,” said François Gauché, vice president of CERCA at Framatome. “The diversity of research and prototype projects we perform at CRIL are technological leaps that ensure our customers have a reliable fuel source for the continuous supply of low-carbon energy, delivery of neutrons to serve the scientific community and the creation of medical radioisotopes used in the treatment of cancer.”
The award recognizes the work done by the laboratory that led to the world’s first uranium-molybdenum and uranium-silicon objects manufactured using 3D printing technology. This innovation advances the development and production of metallic uranium fuel plates for research reactors and irradiation targets for medical isotopes widely used by hospitals for cancer diagnosis.
The lab also provides unique manufacturing capabilities for prototyping innovative fuels for advanced reactor projects through modern manufacturing processes. Research projects include the production of HALEU (high-assay low-enriched uranium) objects in metal alloys such as UAI, U3Si2, UMo, UZr. Other forms of uranium are also being explored, such as oxides or TRISO for the new concepts of advanced reactors like high temperature reactors, sodium fast reactors and micro-reactors.
CRIL is a member of the HERACLES consortium that includes CEA, SCK-CEN, ILL and the Technical University of Munich. HERACLES’ objective is to contribute to the development of dense fuels based on HALEU through successive projects that address manufacturing integrations, irradiation and post-irradiation examinations. In addition, CRIL has a joint laboratory with the CNRS and the University of Lille and collaborates with universities in France and Europe.
Inaugurated in 2019, CRIL is dedicated to uranium-based fuel manufacturing and aims to contribute to international research and development programs to promote the use of low-enriched uranium in scientific and medical nuclear applications.
Framatome’s CERCA Research Innovation Lab members