Westinghouse: Fueling the Future with Accident-Tolerant Milestones

January 25, 2024
1 min read


– Westinghouse Electric Company has provided 25 irradiated nuclear fuel rods, including accident-tolerant fuel, to Idaho National Laboratory (INL) for testing and examination.
– This new fuel technology will enable nuclear power plants to extend the generation of electricity from 18 months to 24 months, reducing refueling outages and generating cost savings.

Westinghouse Electric Company has reached a significant milestone in accident-tolerant fuel technology with the delivery of 25 irradiated nuclear fuel rods to Idaho National Laboratory (INL) for testing and examination. Designed by Westinghouse, this new fuel technology with enhanced safety features will allow nuclear power plants to extend the generation of electricity from the current 18 months to 24 months. This extension will reduce refueling outages, delivering significant cost savings for customers and generating less spent nuclear fuel.

The development of this fuel technology was supported by funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The increased cycle length of the fuel will allow plants to eliminate one refueling outage every 6 years and significantly increase electrical output over the same period. This represents a huge economic benefit for nuclear power plants and their customers.

Continuous innovation is crucial for improving the reliability of the nuclear sector, especially as energy demand continues to increase. Westinghouse is proud to collaborate with INL and other partners in the production and testing of these advanced nuclear fuels. The prior shipment of irradiated nuclear fuel rods with this new technology was delivered to Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Tennessee.

The advanced testing and post-irradiation examinations conducted at both INL and ORNL are important milestones in receiving final approval from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to deploy this innovative fuel to commercial reactors worldwide. The National Laboratories will provide valuable data to Westinghouse, the NRC, the DOE Office of Nuclear Energy, the National Nuclear Security Administration, and regulatory and scientific bodies in Japan, Korea, and Western Europe.

Westinghouse is a leading supplier of nuclear fuel, offering a diverse portfolio across nuclear reactor types. Their world-class manufacturing facilities in Sweden, the UK, and the US focus on delivering innovative fuel technologies that meet customer needs for lower fuel cycle costs, increased operational flexibility and efficiency, diversity of supply, and accident-tolerant products.

Overall, this milestone in accident-tolerant fuel technology represents a significant advancement in the nuclear industry. The extended cycle length of the fuel will provide cost savings for power plants and increase their resilience under potential accident conditions. With the support of funding from the DOE and collaboration with National Laboratories, Westinghouse is at the forefront of delivering innovative fuel solutions to meet the growing energy demands of the future.

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