Planning for the future of nuclear energy – in the near-term and the long-term

Guest post by Jeff Reed, AREVA EATF Program Manager

We recognize that the nuclear fuel business is not a fast-moving business. Design, development and testing of nuclear fuel assemblies and components can take years before concept becomes reality, and a new fuel innovation is placed inside a nuclear reactor. The long lead times are a direct result of the importance we place on the safety and operability of our products.

Understanding the challenges of the nuclear fuel business model, we continually push ourselves to look ahead for near- and long-term solutions that meet our customers’ needs and make the nuclear industry safer.

We are proudly working with the U.S. Department of Energy, national labs, and other industry experts to bring the next evolution of nuclear fuel to the nuclear industry. As a key contributor to the Enhanced Accident Tolerant Fuel (EATF) program, AREVA is focused on providing solutions that are more efficient, reliable and cost-effective for operators of nuclear reactors.

Our near-term focus involves introducing prototype fuel assemblies –or “lead fuel assemblies” as they’re called in the industry – with chromium-coated cladding and chromia-doped pellets into commercial operating reactors as early as 2019. Combined with the safety and performance features in our existing designs, these new features further enhance the safety and performance of fuel in our industry’s operating reactors. Additionally, we are focused on more long-term ideas and concepts such as silicone carbide cladding for fuel rods.

As a leading supplier of nuclear energy technology in North America, we are committed to advancing nuclear energy. To get a peek at what the next evolution of nuclear fuel looks like, check out the below selection of articles on accident tolerant fuel:

Advanced Technology Fuels—Potential Nuclear Industry Game Changer

Accident Tolerant Fuel Session Presentations at the NRC Regulatory Information Conference (RIC)

Nuclear News – Development of advanced accident tolerant

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Enhanced Accident Tolerant Fuel Program

Update on U.S. Accident Tolerant Fuel Program Nuclear Regulatory Commission Briefing