Framatome has completed the installation of the first 3D-printed, stainless steel fuel component at the Forsmark Nuclear Power Plant, operated by Vattenfall in Sweden. In collaboration with KSB SE & Co. KgaA, the ATRIUM 11 upper tie plate grids were designed, manufactured, and installed in Forsmark Unit 3 for a multi-year irradiation program. Located at the top of the ATRIUM 11 fuel assembly, the upper tie plate grid is a non-structural weight-bearing component that secures fuel rods and retains larger debris from entering the fuel assembly from the top. Upper tie plate grids are easily inspected, and samples are accessible for qualifying this new manufacturing process for in-reactor use as needed.
During the conventional manufacturing process, upper tie plate grids are laser welded, using stamped comb-like sheets that require additional manufacturing steps and operator oversight. Additive manufacturing streamlines the manufacturing process and increases design options for enhanced functionality and improved performance.