As an important fuel test reactor in Norway announced this week it would be closing permanently, testing of advanced accident tolerant fuels in the United States continues apace. Meanwhile, both Houses of Congress this month provided healthy levels of funding for the Department of Energy’s ATF research and demonstration program, demonstrating their recognition of the importance of innovation in nuclear fuels.
The US Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) reported yesterday that coordination among the various entities involved in the development of accident-tolerant fuels (ATF) has “progressed to the point that all stakeholders now agree on the feasibility of a 2023 timeline”.
Following a planned outage, Unit 1 at the Edwin I. Hatch Nuclear Plant near Baxley in southeastern Georgia returned to service in early March outfitted with first-of-their-kind accident tolerant fuel (ATF) test assemblies. The development marks a major milestone for the advanced fuel technology, which, beyond safety benefits, could furnish the world’s light water reactor fleet with much-needed cost efficiencies to help them stay competitive.