AREVA Federal Services, an AREVA Inc. subsidiary, has been awarded a contract by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to continue the development of the next generation of fuel for light water nuclear reactors. This program aims for the development of enhanced accident tolerant fuel (EATF), a more resistant fuel under severe accident conditions, particularly those involving a loss of cooling.

“Thanks to AREVA’s experience regarding commercial fuel as well as our extensive research and development capabilities, we can provide DOE with the support needed to achieve their goal and launch tests in commercial reactors in 2022,” said Tara Neider, president and CEO of AREVA Federal Services. “This project is an excellent example of successful collaboration between public, private and academic sectors to optimize the safety and reliability of all the nuclear reactors in operation.”

The AREVA-led team, comprised of the U.S. utilities Tennessee Valley Authority, Duke Energy, the University of Wisconsin, the University of Florida and Savannah River National Laboratory, has been working on the first phase of this project since 2012. The team evaluated promising technologies giving nuclear power plant operators more time to manage an accident situation. These technologies included, for instance, coatings on Zirconium cladding, additives to uranium pellets as well as modifications to coolant loops. Pellets with several additives were manufactured at the University of Florida and shipped to Idaho National Laboratory for insertion into the Advanced Test Reactor this summer.

The objective of the new contract is to complete the initial research and development phase, select the most promising solutions and move forward with the EATF design to deploy lead test assemblies or rods into a commercial power reactor in 2022. The Electric Power Research Institute and U.S. nuclear operator Dominion Generation will join the current AREVA-led team. Dominion Generation’s role, like those of the other participating electric utility team members, will be as an advisor to the project.

View the full story at AREVA North America.