Framatome’s first complete accident tolerant fuel assembly is in operation at the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant in Maryland. The lead fuel assembly is the first of its kind to be inserted into a commercial reactor and was developed through the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Accident Fuel Program.

The advanced fuel will operate in the reactor for the next 4-to-6 years and will be routinely inspected to monitor its performance.

The lead fuel assembly was fabricated at the company’s manufacturing facility in Richland, Washington as part of a 2019 contract with Exelon Generation. It was delivered to Maryland and inserted into the plant’s Unit 2 reactor during a recent refueling outage in the spring. The assembly contains 176 chromium-coated fuel rods and chromia-enhanced pellets that improve tolerance to changes in the reactor core and are expected to reduce corrosion and hydrogen production under high-temperature conditions.

The new fuel prototype builds on previous testing in the U.S. and Switzerland through Framatome’s PROtect program, which aims to deliver the first major upgrade to the industry’s fuel and cladding technologies since the 1970s.

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