The world’s first complete advanced nuclear fuel test assemblies containing accident-tolerant fuel (ATF) have been installed at Southern Co.’s Alvin W. Vogtle Electric Generating Plant’s Unit 2 in Georgia.

Nuclear giant Framatome delivered four GAIA lead fuel assemblies containing enhanced ATF (EATF), including both pellets and cladding, to the plant owned by Georgia Power in January. Southern Nuclear, a Southern Co. subsidiary that operates the plant, installed the assemblies during the unit’s spring refueling outage that began on March 10 and ended April 3.

According to John Williams, Southern Nuclear fuel and analysis director, installation of the ATF assemblies marks a significant advancement in the potential commercial deployment of ATF technology. “This innovative technology is expected to enhance the plant’s already robust safety performance, as well as potentially lower plant operating costs,” he said on April 5.

“Framatome answered the call and delivered the product we were looking for in the timeframe that we needed it,” said Jennifer Baker, Southern Nuclear’s pressurized water reactor fuel engineering manager and the project lead for the Vogtle 2 fuel load. “Longer fuel cycles would ultimately be a win for the communities that our fleet is proud to serve by potentially lowering plant operating costs,” said Baker.

Framatome, too, celebrated the milestone. Lionel Gaiffe, senior executive vice president at Framatome’s Fuel Business Unit, applauded Southern Nuclear’s “consistent support of EATF initiatives,” noting the company was “pleased to deploy an economical advanced fuel technology that offers operators additional response time and greater operational flexibility.”

View the full story at POWER.