Westinghouse said this installation marks the first insertion of EnCore Fuel rod assemblies in Europe, and the second insertion into a commercial nuclear power plant worldwide.
“The insertion of EnCore Fuel at the Doel plant is a significant milestone for our accident tolerant fuel prograemme,” said Tarik Choho, Westinghouse president of EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) operating plant services. “This installation is part of the successful deployment of EnCore Fuel to the global nuclear energy industry.”
The lead test assemblies (LTAs) were manufactured and delivered under an agreement between Westinghouse and Enusa, which was signed in 2018 to allow for collaboration on the advancement of the EnCore Fuel programme at Westinghouse.
Westinghouse supplied the uranium dioxide powder and components including the advanced cladding technology, while Enusa delivered the uranium dioxide pellets, as well as the fuel assembly and shipment.
According to Westinghouse EnCore fuel has the potential to increase safety through the use of new materials, while improving the economics of plant operation through longer fuel cycles and improved flexibility.
In January 2019, Westinghouse received $93.6m in funding from the US Department of Energy in support of its accident-tolerant fuel programme.
Doel-4 is a 1,038-MW pressurised water reactor unit that began commercial operation in 1985.