Braselton, Ga., June 13, 2017 – Westinghouse Electric Company today formally launched its accident-tolerant fuel solution, EnCoreTM Fuel. The announcement was made during the company’s Fuel Users’ Group Meeting, attended by nuclear fuel customers from around the world.
“Westinghouse is aggressively pursuing the benefits of accident tolerant fuel for our customers,” said Michele DeWitt, senior vice president, Nuclear Fuel. “As the leading supplier of nuclear fuel and components globally, Westinghouse has developed a world-class network of research, design and manufacturing partners. We are leveraging the breadth and depth of our resources, combined with U.S. Department of Energy awards, as well as utility funding, to collaborate with respected industry partners in order to deliver EnCore Fuel to the market on an aggressive, accelerated schedule. We are on track to manufacture EnCore Fuel lead test rods as early as 2018, with lead test assembly insertion planned starting in 2022.”
EnCore Fuel is intended to offer design-basis-altering safety, greater uranium efficiency and estimated economic benefits up to hundreds of millions of dollars to Westinghouse’s nuclear fuel customers. Delivered in two phases, the initial EnCore Fuel product is comprised of coated cladding containing uranium silicide pellets, which sets EnCore Fuel apart from other accident-tolerant fuel solutions because of the pellets’ higher density and higher thermal conductivity. The reduced oxidation and hydrogen pickup of the coated cladding during normal operation (250° - 350°C) is intended to prolong cladding life, provide enhanced resistance to wear and increase margins.
The coated cladding also supports extended exposure to high temperature steam and air (1300° - 1400°C) during a loss-of-coolant accident (LOCA), reactivity-initiated accident (RIA) and beyond-design-basis conditions.
The second phase of EnCore Fuel features silicon-carbide (SiC) cladding, which is intended to offer significant safety benefits in beyond-design-basis accident scenarios, enabled by its extremely high melting point (2800°C or higher) and minimal reaction with water, resulting in minimal generation of heat and hydrogen in beyond-design-basis accident scenarios.