THE TWO MAIN DRIVERS OF materials development in the nuclear fuel domain are safety and fuel cycle cost, says Alain Frichet, vice president of Fuel Products and Technologies at Framatome. Frichet, who joined Framatome in 1995, is leading the company’s research and development of all pressurised water reactor (PWR) and boiling water reactor (BWR) fuel technologies. This includes projects at Framatome’s sites in France, Germany and the USA, as well as worldwide technical partnerships.
In the aftermath of the 2011 accident at Fukushima Daiichi, the nuclear industry undertook a global effort to further increase fuel margins in the case of a severe accident. It led to programmes to develop enhanced accident tolerant fuel (EATF). Framatome, as part of its PROTect programme, is developing and testing two EATF concepts: a near-term solution that involves chromia-enhanced fuel pellets and fuel rods with a chromium coating; and a longer-term solution with a silicon carbide-based cladding.
Frichet also sees opportunities to leverage new technologies for fuel manufacture and qualification. Big data is a “very interesting” way of predicting fuel behaviour, he says. As a fuel designer, Framatome has lots of operating data, which could be used to optimise the design of future fuel rods. Additive manufacturing (AM) also offers “many potential benefits” for nuclear fuel components, according to Frichet.
Read the full article in Nuclear Engineering International
Framatome is an international leader in nuclear energy recognized for its innovative solutions and value added technologies 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 14,000 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%).