The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Nuclear Energy (NE) has awarded $111.2 million to three industry partners to develop Accident Tolerant Fuels (ATF). General Electric (GE), Westinghouse (WEC), and Framatome received the financial assistance awards in late 2018 with FY18 and FY19 funding. The period of performance for these awards goes through January 31, 2021 with DOE and NE planning additional funding of $55.6 million in FY20 and $30 million in FY21, contingent upon Congressional approval.

The primary objectives for the new awards are as follows:

Framatome will continue the development and deployment of chromium-coated zirconium alloy cladding with chromia-doped uranium oxide (UO2) pellets (Cr-Cr2O3). Additionally, Framatome will continue and expand development efforts on its silicon carbide cladding concepts.

Should Congress authorize additional funding for the ATF program, the vendors will expand operation of ATF-related concepts in DOE facilities – INL ATR, INL Transient Reactor Test (TREAT) facility, and out-of-pile tests – and commercial reactors with prototypic segments and rods. The companies would be expected to have agreed-upon licensing plans developed for future NRC approval for initial partial core loadings into commercial nuclear power plants during the mid-2020s.

View the full story at the official Office of Nuclear Energy site.