WILMINGTON, North Carolina—February 8, 2018—Global Nuclear Fuel (GNF) today announced that it has manufactured and shipped lead test assemblies of its IronClad and ARMOR accident tolerant fuel solutions to Southern Nuclear Operating Company for plant installation in early 2018.
GNF is working with both Southern Nuclear and Exelon Generation to insert lead test assemblies utilizing an iron-chromium-aluminum fuel cladding material known as IronClad and coated zirconium fuel cladding known as ARMOR into several reactors over the next few years.
The IronClad lead test assemblies will be the first developed through the U.S. Department of Energy’s Enhanced Accident Tolerant Fuel program to be installed in a commercial nuclear reactor.
“We are exploring many technologies for our advanced fuel portfolio but believe that our expertise and experience with ferritic steel and coated zirconium cladding will enable us to put this enhanced solution to work more quickly for our customers,” said Amir Vexler, CEO of GNF. “Accident tolerant fuel technology offers superior safety margin to address a beyond design basis event and the potential for more cost-effective operation of the existing boiling water reactor fleet. We are excited to collaborate with our customers and partners on this important program to lead the industry to an even safer, more reliable and more efficient future.”
GNF developed the ARMOR coating, which is applied to a standard zirconium fuel rod, to provide debris resistance and more oxidation resistance than standard zirconium cladding. Both advanced technology materials are part of GNF’s portfolio to solve industry challenges.
The installation of IronClad material at Plant Hatch includes two variations of the iron-chromium-aluminum material. One material will be in fuel rod form but will not be fueled while the other material is in the form of a solid bar segment. ARMOR lead test assemblies that contain fueled coated zirconium rods will be installed in the same reload at Plant Hatch. Lead test assemblies that include both IronClad and ARMOR fueled rods are planned for 2019 installation at Exelon Generation’s Clinton Power Station.
“We are thrilled to be installing the new test assemblies this spring at Plant Hatch,” said John Williams, nuclear fuel director at Southern Nuclear’s headquarters in Birmingham, Alabama. “Our top priority is the safety and health of the public and our employees, and this game-changing technology will make plants even safer, resulting in more flexibility in our operations. This is not a small step, but a leap for our industry.”
Southern Nuclear, a subsidiary of Southern Company operates Plant Hatch on behalf of Georgia Power and co-owners (Oglethorpe Power, MEAG Power and Dalton Utilities).
GNF’s IronClad material is designed to provide substantial oxidation resistance and excellent material behavior over a range of conditions. The low oxidation rates of this material at higher temperatures further improves safety limit margins. In addition to developing the assemblies for insertion, GNF has been working closely with suppliers to establish robust fabrication processes for the cladding and with industry leaders, including utilities, national laboratories and other fuel vendors, to assess the economic benefit of ferritic steel-clad fuel rods and on advanced technology fuel solutions more generally.
GNF’s ARMOR coated zirconium cladding provides enhanced protection of fuel rods against debris fretting. ARMOR also provides oxidation resistance and superior material behavior over a range of conditions making it an attractive technology to improve safety limit margins and abrasion resistance. The lead test assemblies were engineered and manufactured at GNF’s state-of-the-art facility in Wilmington, North Carolina.
Global Nuclear Fuel (GNF) is a world-leading supplier of boiling water reactor fuel and fuel-related engineering services. GNF is a GE-led joint venture with Hitachi, Ltd. and operates primarily through Global Nuclear Fuel-Americas, LLC in Wilmington, N.C., and Global Nuclear Fuel-Japan Co., Ltd. in Kurihama, Japan.
About Southern Nuclear
Southern Nuclear, a subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO), is a leader among the nation's nuclear energy facility operators and an innovator in advanced nuclear technologies. Southern Nuclear is an essential part of Southern Company's energy portfolio, and its importance will continue to grow as America transitions to a low-carbon energy future. While the company produces clean, safe and reliable nuclear energy, it's also an economic engine powered by quality jobs and community service. Southern Nuclear operates a total of six units for Alabama Power and Georgia Power at the Joseph M. Farley Nuclear Plant near Dothan, Ala.; the Edwin I. Hatch Nuclear Plant near Baxley, Ga.; and the Alvin W. Vogtle Electric Generating Plant near Waynesboro, Ga. Southern Nuclear is the licensee of two new nuclear units currently under construction at Plant Vogtle that are the first nuclear units being constructed in the United States in more than 30 years. In 2017, Southern Nuclear won a Technology Transfer award from the Electric Power Research Institute, an Honor Roll award for superior performance in the global boiling water reactor fleet from GE/Hitachi, and the Drivers of Success Award from GT STRUDL. The company's headquarters is in Birmingham, Ala. Twitter: @SouthernNuclear; Facebook: facebook.com/southernnuclear; www.southernnuclear.com
About Exelon Generation
Exelon Generation, a subsidiary of Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC), is one of the largest, most efficient clean energy producers in the U.S., with a generating capacity of more than 35,500 megawatts. Exelon Generation operates the largest U.S. fleet of carbon-free nuclear plants with 20,300 megawatts of capacity from 23 reactors at 14 facilities in Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. Exelon Generation also operates a diverse mix of wind, solar, landfill gas, hydroelectric, natural gas and oil facilities in 18 states with more than 15,200 megawatts. Exelon Generation has an industry-leading safety record and is an active partner and economic engine in the communities it serves by providing jobs, charitable contributions and tax payments that help towns and regions grow. Follow Exelon Generation on Twitter @ExelonGen, view the Exelon Generation channel on YouTube, and visit: http://exeloncorp.com/companies/exelon-generation
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