Westinghouse continues its journey in the use of AM within nuclear power plants by releasing recently developed applications. This time, the said application is a set of bottom nozzles designed to improve debris capture and fuel endurance within its fuel assemblies.

The nozzles were integrated into four Lead Test Assemblies delivered to Alabama Power’s Joseph M. Farley Nuclear Plant operated by Southern Nuclear, in the first quarter of 2024.

Over the past decade, Southern Nuclear has led the industry in the development and implementation of new technologies that improve fuel resiliency,” said Southern Nuclear President Pete Sena. “The existing nuclear power fleet is the backbone of our country’s clean energy supply, and we are innovating nuclear fuel today to be more robust in order to deliver safer, more affordable, and more reliable carbon-free clean nuclear power for decades to come.”

The company explains that debris-wearing action on the fuel rod cladding – known as debris fretting – is the primary source of leaks in Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR) fuel assemblies. AM technology offers significant improvements in debris filtering thanks to enhanced design freedom which reduces the diameter of debris that can enter into the reactor. In testing, the additively manufactured components demonstrated a 30% improvement in debris resistance.

Our additive manufacturing technology is allowing us to achieve breakthrough performance with an immediate positive impact for our customers,” said Tarik Choho, Westinghouse President of Nuclear Fuel. “This significant technology innovation for PWR reactors mitigates the risk of leakage in the fuel rods due to the accumulation of debris, strengthening the safety and efficiency of our customers’ operations.”

The announcement follows a recent milestone the provider of nuclear power plants products celebrated in its AM journey.

Listen to Westinghouse’s Global AM Program Leader in the latest Additive Talks session: The use of AM in the nuclear industry and its hidden complexities

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