Chromium coating is a feature of the ATF design that Framatome has been developing for several years as part of the US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Enhanced Accident-Tolerant Fuel programme, which aims to commercialise ATF by 2025. This work also builds on several years of collaboration with its European partners, CEA and EDF in France, as well as the Gösgen nuclear power plant in Switzerland.

The addition of chromium coating to the fuel’s existing alloy cladding offers advantages, including improved resistance to oxidation at high temperatures, reduced hydrogen generation in accident conditions, and increased wear and debris resistance in normal operation, according to Framatome.

Entergy will insert the lead use rods into ANO unit 1 — a 836 MWe pressurised water reactor — in late 2019.

John Elnitsky, senior vice president of engineering and technical services at Entergy Nuclear, said: “Maintaining operational excellence, while safely producing low-cost, carbon-free electricity, is at the core of what we do at Entergy. These chromium-coated rods will not only help improve fuel reliability for our customers but will also advance this important technology for our industry.”

Framatome said, “Support from DOE has allowed Framatome to significantly beat its initial target of 2023 to deploy this technology, further protecting and advancing nuclear power.”

View the full story at World Nuclear News.