NRL contribution to accident-tolerant fuel installation by Westinghouse

Westinghouse capsule assembly

Westinghouse Cr-coated tubes being assembled prior to testing at the MITR

NRL contribution to accident-tolerant fuel installation by Westinghouse
Taylor Tracy, NRL

An Exelon nuclear power plant recently installed the first test assemblies of Westinghouse's accident-tolerant EnCore Fuel. MIT’s Nuclear Reactor Lab (NRL) contributed to the development of the fuel through in-core irradiation testing of chrome-coated zircaloy cladding samples in conditions very close to those in the commercial reactor application. The coated cladding reduces oxidation and hydrogen pickup during normal operation (250°C to 350°C) and is designed to prolong cladding life. It also improves the performance of the cladding in high temperature steam and air – conditions that may arise under various accident conditions. Continued testing at the NRL and various test reactors on this and other accident tolerant fuel variants provides data for the nuclear industry to present to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to license the new fuel and apply the appropriate requirements for its implementation.

Read more about EnCore Fuel and Westinghouse’s timeline for rolling out accident tolerant fuels here.