An important milestone for the nuclear industry is taking place in Georgia and it’s not the one you might think. When it comes to innovation, it’s easy to think of new plant construction or advanced reactor technology, but the industry also is on the path to beating its own timeline for developing accident tolerant fuel (ATF)—one of several new technologies that will help our current fleet achieve more efficiency. These advanced fuel designs will make plants even safer by allowing plant operators more time to respond to reactor conditions.

Testing is now underway on four lead test assemblies containing enhanced accident tolerant fuel at Vogtle 2. This is the second Southern Nuclear-operated plant to test variations of this advanced fuel. Last spring, ATF lead test assemblies were loaded at Hatch Nuclear Plant in collaboration with Global Nuclear Fuel. This time Southern Nuclear is partnering with Framatome to go one step further and test full-length fuel rods at Vogtle 2.

“The rods are fully fueled, and they have the ATF features both with the fuel pellet and with the cladding, so you get added layers of protection,” explained Peter Newby, vice president of sales and marketing for Framatome’s Fuel Business Unit in North America. “This is how the rod is supposed to be and how we intend to deliver it in the future.”

The fuel load at Vogtle 2 marks an important step toward commercial deployment of this technology.

View the full story at the Nuclear Energy Institute site.