In another significant boost to commercial deployment of accident-tolerant fuel (ATF) at existing nuclear reactors, the first 18-month fuel cycle test of Framatome’s GAIA Enhanced Accident Tolerant Fuel (EATF) at Southern Co.’s Vogtle 2 has “demonstrated expected results and excellent performance,” Framatome said on Feb. 2.
Koroush Shirvan isn’t a zoologist, but he’s well acquainted with moose, bison, cobras, and falcons, to name a few. Like anyone working in the world of advanced research on nuclear power, this assistant professor in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Nuclear Science & Engineering department deals daily in initialisms and acronyms, which for Shirvan include MOOSE, BISON, COBRA, FALCON, and dozens more.
Ask Dr. Tatiana Ivanova, a long-time nuclear engineer and head of the Nuclear Science division at Paris-based intergovernmental organization Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA), why so much activity is ongoing to transform nuclear fuel — and her answer is simple: “It is the principal part of nuclear power plants.” Fuel design optimization is “a cornerstone for the industry to deploy new, modern fuel for light-water reactors [LWRs], advanced reactors, and small modular reactors,” she said.
The first accident tolerant fuel assemblies containing both modified cladding and pellets have been loaded into until 2 of the Vogtle nuclear plant in Georgia, Southern Nuclear and Framatome announced 5 April.