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As cost pressures continue to rise for the nuclear industry, utilities are turning to their trusted partners for ways to optimize and enhance current fuel performance. For some plants this means maximizing the economics of their current fuel technologies and processes. For others, it means entirely reimagining the way their nuclear fuel is utilized. Initiatives such as higher burnup, extended fuel cycles and flexible power operations are being explored and invested in by industry stakeholders to make the leap from concept to reality.
To address the needs of all of our utility partners, Westinghouse has developed incremental burnup topical report WCAP-18446-P. Accepted for review by the U.S Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in March 2021, the topical report extends the burnup limit to 68 GWD/MTU for peripheral fuel assemblies for both Westinghouse and CE fuel assembly designs.
This milestone is the first step as part of a two-phased program to reach higher burnup operation. The incremental burnup limit increase will enable increased fuel utilization and reduced fuel cycle costs for our customers, while the licensing process will provide us with valuable insights to address future applications for higher burnup limits for the entire core.