2021 was a BIG year for nuclear energy as the nation continues to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. Energy use is back on the rise and the global appetite for cleaner energy is higher than ever before. Here are the 10 biggest wins for nuclear in 2021, setting the stage for what will be one of the most transformative times in history for the industry.
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.
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.