Nuclear, Retrofits & Upgrades

Plant Hatch Returns to Service with New Fuel Test Assembly Technology

By Editors of Power Engineering

Plant Hatch Unit 1 didn’t just get refueling and maintenance during its outage – Southern Nuclear installed some new technology developed by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Plant Hatch now has a new type of accident-tolerant fuel test assemblies Southern Nuclear called the first of its kind to be installed in a commercial nuclear reactor.

“We were thrilled to install the new test assemblies at Plant Hatch,” said John Williams, Southern Nuclear nuclear fuel director. “Our top priority is the safety and health of the public and our employees, and this game-changing technology will make plants even safer, resulting in more flexibility in our operations. This is not a small step, but a leap for our industry.”

The assembly, manufactured by Global Nuclear Fuel, uses an iron, chromium and aluminum fuel cladding dubbed IronClad and coated zirconium fuel cladding known as ARMOR. These assemblies provide debris resistance and added oxidation resistance than standard zirconium cladding.

At Plant Hatch, Global Nuclear Fuel plans to test one variation in the IronClad material in fuel rod form but unfueled, while the other is in the form of a solid bar segment.

Global Nuclear Fuel plans to install the assemblies into several other reactors over the next few years.

Additionally, employees from Southern Nuclear’s fleet as well as 800 workers from GE, Day and Zimmerman and other partners performed specialized tasks, upgraded plant systems and performed regular maintenance.