Friday, August 08, 2008

AREVA Affirms No Need to Restart MOX Tests

Recently a pair of antinuclear groups issued a misleading press release calling in question the results of trials of MOX (mixed oxide) fuel lead test assemblies (LTAs) at Duke Energy’s Catawba nuclear power plant. The groups suggest that the tests failed—this is not true. The tests provided AREVA with a thorough understanding of the fuel’s performance before it is used on wider scale. There is no need to restart the tests.

MOX fuel has been used safely and effectively for years in more than 30 reactors in Europe and Japan. The use of MOX fuel has several key benefits: it is a way to save natural resources while alleviating the nuclear waste issue. In the case of the U.S. program, it enables the conversion of former nuclear weapons material into CO2-free energy.

The additional facts about the MOX fuel tests are these:

  • Operation of the LTAs during their planned two cycles of irradiation proceeded flawlessly. The MOX fuel assemblies were placed in symmetric core locations where their power level could be monitored throughout their irradiation. Nuclear performance was excellent, consistent with expectations, and as predicted by the core design codes.
  • Three of the four MOX LTAs grew slightly longer than the pre-established growth limit for reinsertion for a third cycle. The pre-established growth limit for the MOX LTAs is the same as for commercially supplied fuel.
  • At no time did the MOX LTAs create or present a safety issue for the Catawba reactor. Monitoring of the operating reactor showed that the LTAs performed within all established limits and analyses.
  • It does not appear that the slightly higher growth in the LTAs was related to the MOX fuel in any way. However, the root cause analysis is not yet complete; we should not speculate about the exact cause until the data is in and thorough analysis is complete.
  • Duke Energy has not yet decided whether it will reinsert the assemblies for a third cycle. AREVA already is studying the best option for modifying the assembly design to ensure the fuel’s performance for a potential third cycle and for future use.
Guest post by Jarret Adams.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

41 Granite contractors laid off from GE-Hitachi's ESBWR project. Reason? No DOE money until December. Those contractors will likely all go working for Areva and GE-Hitachi won't be able to get the help it needs when the time comes. GE-Hitachi is NOT devoted to nuclear as Areva is. Areva is willing to take millions of dollars in loss on the Ocone get a foot in the door, so to speak. GE has become too large and too arrogant. It needs more Nikola Teslas (whom its founder, Thomas Edison, mistreated much to Westinghouse's delight and his subsequent chagrin). It needs people - managers and executives - who are willing to invest and commit, not suckle at the teat of the public treasury. But no, GE-Hitachi is over-run by the book keepers. GE investing its own money as Areva does? That's unheard of. No, 41 people will go to Areva and Westinghouse, forever unavailable when GE will need them.

gregor said...

I added you to my blogroll, prior to sending my original comment. When you replied back to me at my gmail email, I was not sue if I sent it to the correct address as we both have similar names, I go by Greg, gregor, gregornot & Hey You, it gets confusing some times.
But a least the US government has not started the National ID program and embed RFID chips for our monetary transactions, YET!
Peace,gregor

Starvid said...

GE is not an engineering company anymore. They get, what, 50 % of their revenue from financial services?

Anonymous said...

Yup - Starvid is right. The old days are gone for GE. Looks like BWR technology will go obsolete unless Toshiba - Westinghouse can be successful at South Texas.

Now if GE would focus on nuclear, that would be different. But instead, it focuses on money. Greed (love of money) - the root of all evil.

Anonymous said...

Am I the only one missing the connection between these comments ("GE isn't what it was in nuclear") to the original post ("Areva MOX fuel LTAs grow longer than expected")??