By Jeremy Bischoff, Material Expert for Nuclear Fuel Cladding Material at Framatome

In July 2017, Framatome announced that GAIA lead fuel assemblies (LFAs) would be delivered to Southern Nuclear Company’s Vogtle Unit 2 in the winter of 2019. This was a historic announcement for Framatome – the first PROtect enhanced accident tolerant fuel (EATF) program contract signed with a U.S. utility. The announcement brought excitement and the opportunity to revolutionize the nuclear fuel industry.

My North American colleague, Destinee Rea, shared her involvement in the PROtect EATF program, as part of a team in Richland, Wash., responsible for optimizing the manufacturing process for uranium oxide pellets with a chromia-enhancement. Now I’d like to share how the team in Europe contributed to the successful development and delivery of the first PROtect contract.

In the framework of Framatome’s PROtect program, the dedicated team in Lyon and Paimboeuf, France, is responsible for developing the process to apply chromium coatings to existing zirconium cladding. At the time the Southern contract was announced in 2017, we were finishing the fabrication of a prototype machine to coat full-length cladding tubes. But with the expertise and experience from our teams, we changed our production scale from short samples to full-length tubes to meet our customer’s request.

View the full story at LinkedIn.