France’s Framatome has signed multimillion-dollar contracts with the US Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) for work across the company’s reactor fleet.

The contract includes fuel for the Browns Ferry nuclear power plant, fuel handling equipment upgrades across the fleet including two pressurised water reactors at Sequoyah and steam generator replacements at the Watts Bar.

Framatome will supply its state-of-the-art ATRIUM 11 fuel for the three boiling water reactors at Browns Ferry with the first use planned for 2023. TVA will be the third US utility to switch to the ATRIUM 11 fuel design, Framatome said.

ATRIUM 11 helps utilities to save money by using the uranium in nuclear fuel more efficiently. The fuel also allows operators to run their plants with more flexibility as demand fluctuates and other generation sources provide power to the electricity grid. Framatome’s fuel fabrication facility, which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, in Richland, Washington, will manufacture the fuel.

Framatome will also upgrade the fuel handling equipment at the Browns Ferry, Sequoyah and Watts Bar plants on an accelerated schedule, saving both time and money. This work includes upgrading the refuel bridges at Browns Ferry, the manipulator cranes at both Sequoyah units and Watts Bar 1, and the fuel transfer systems at Watts Bar. Framatome previously upgraded the fuel transfer systems at Sequoyah. The company will also replace the used fuel bridges at Sequoyah and Watts Bar.

Additionally, SGT, a joint venture between Framatome and AECOM, will replace four steam generators at Watts Bar 2. The 1165 MWe (net) pressurised water reactor (PWR) began commercial operation in 2016. Construction had resumed in 2007 following a 22-year hiatus. TVA said in 2017 that replacement of Watts Bar 2's steam generators would allow the unit to operate more efficiently.

Browns Ferry was recently upgraded as part of a $475 million extended power uprate.

Photo: TVA's Browns Ferry nuclear power plant (Credit:TVA)

Date: Friday, 07 February 2020
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