Framatome’s Richland nuclear fuel manufacturing facility, one of the most technologically advanced and flexible fuel fabrication facilities in the world, celebrates its 50th anniversary.
The Richland facility has an industry-leading safety record, recognized by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) as having ‘no area needing improvement’ during its biennial Licensee Performance Review (LPR). The facility has maintained that standing for 12 consecutive years. The Richland site also received the industry’s first 40-year fuel fabrication license renewal from the NRC in 2009.
“The longevity of the Richland facility illustrates our employees’ commitment to innovation and excellence, year after year,” said Lionel Gaiffe, senior executive vice president of the Fuel Business Unit at Framatome. “Framatome’s continued investment in this facility demonstrates our view that the fuel and products developed at the Richland site are key to the future of nuclear energy.”
Over its lifetime, the Richland fuel manufacturing facility has shipped more than 66,000 fuel assemblies to the nuclear fleet throughout the world. Today, the facility has nearly 550 employees focused on providing fuel, fuel-related products and services to all nuclear reactor types.
Recent upgrades to the facility have positioned Framatome to deliver its most advanced fuel products for pressurized water reactors (GAIA) and boiling water reactors (ATRIUM™11). The facility is a leader in manufacturing fuel designs with Framatome’s PROtect enhanced accident tolerant fuel (EATF) technologies. This year, the facility shipped its first two EATF products to U.S. customers.
The site also serves as the dedicated manufacturing facility for Lightbridge FuelTM through Enfission LLC, a 50-50 joint venture company between Framatome and Lightbridge Corporation (NASDAQ: LTBR).
As part of Framatome’s continuing investment in its facilities, the Richland site will open the doors to its newest building later this year, a scrap uranium recovery facility (SURF).
The 11,000 square foot facility will be used to extract and recover uranium from feed streams containing non-uranium contaminants such as gadolinium, further modernizing the site’s capabilities.
“We are proud of the great history at our Richland facility, and plan to be here for another 50 years,” said Richland Site Manager Ron Land. “This milestone is a result of our employees’ expertise and dedication to operational excellence.”