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TRIGA International recently delivered 30 new fuel elements to Penn State University for its research reactor. The shipment is the first of its kind in more than a decade and restores an important fuel supply for the 35 TRIGA reactors operating around the world, including 17 in the United States.

TRIGA International, a joint venture between Framatome and General Atomics, is the world’s only supplier of TRIGA fuel. It restarted fuel production last year following a major renovation project at its fabrication facility in Romans, France. this is the first new fuel shipment by the company since 2012 and will be used to help fuel Penn State’s Breazeale Reactor – the longest continuously operating university research reactor in the US.

The US Department of Energy (DOE) provided nearly $16m to help upgrade the facility and restore new fuel production. “This shipment of fuel represents DOE’s commitment to our university research reactors that are helping to train the future nuclear energy workforce,” said Dr Kathryn Huff, assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy. “I’m also pleased to see this fuel support Penn State’s facility expansion and their new role as a Nuclear Science User Facilities partner helping to advance the nation’s nuclear R&D.”

TRIGA stands for Training, Research, Isotopes, General Atomics. Of the 17 TRIGA reactors currently operating in the US, 12 are located at universities and are primarily used for training students, research projects, and isotope production. DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy provides and coordinates the nuclear fuel elements for all US university TRIGA reactors.

“Penn State’s nuclear research enterprise continues to grow in new and exciting ways, and this new fuel supports that growth,” said Andrew Read, Interim Vice President for Research at Penn State. “Through significant investments to the reactor that now allow simultaneous neutron beam operations, as well as a partnership through the Nuclear Science User Facilities programme, the University is uniquely positioned to make significant advances in nuclear science, share our knowledge and educate the next generation of nuclear engineers.”

DOE expects to purchase more than 660 new fuel elements for TRIGA reactors in the US, along with additional fuel for Marvel – a new testing platform that will demonstrate microreactor operations and end-use applications at Idaho National Laboratory.

Image: TRIGA International has delivered new fuel elements to Penn State University to help fuel its research reactor (US DOE Office of Nuclear Energy)

Date: Saturday, 07 October 2023
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