Framatome’s breakthrough 3D-printed nuclear fuel elements successfully completed the first cycle of irradiation in operating conditions.
As part of a qualification project, these experimental stainless steel and nickel-based alloy components were installed at the Gösgen Nuclear Power Plant in Switzerland for a five-cycle program. These components will be further examined to confirm behavior in real operating conditions.
Additive manufacturing accelerates Framatomes product development and streamlines the manufacturing process to bring high-quality products to market quickly. The innovative technique manufactures metal parts with complex geometries that would be unattainable with traditional processes. It also offers customizations and significant improvements in the performance of manufactured components.
The technique is also regularly used for other nuclear fuel applications such as rapid prototyping, and manufacturing of test components and fuel production line tools, in-reactor fuel inspection and repair services tools, research reactor fuel assemblies, and uranium metal medical targets.
The project involves Framatome fuel experts from France, Germany and the U.S., in close collaboration with customers worldwide. The project is also supported by the European Union and U.S. Department of Energy programs and relies on international laboratories and companies recognized for scientific advances in additive manufacturing.