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Southern Nuclear’s commitment to innovation recognized at NEI Assembly

As a result of Southern Nuclear’s investment in innovation and relentless focus on improving safety, two industry-leading SNC projects were recognized recently at NEI’s 2019 Nuclear Energy Assembly in Washington, D.C. TIP (Top Innovative Practice) awards are the industry’s highest honor and recognize excellence in research and performance. 

“The work done on these projects reflects our pledge to get better every day,” said Steve Kuczynski, president and CEO of Southern Nuclear. “The collaborative effort and commitment to excellence by these teams resulted in innovative ways to validate nuclear energy’s resilience as a clean, reliable and efficient energy source. Their leadership will enable us to fix and build our plants and improve our ability to work and generate nuclear energy safely.”

SNC’s winning project submissions were:

  • GNF3 Fuel Product Introduction with Concurrent TRACG-LOCA Margin Optimization
  • Implementation of Framatome GAIA Enhanced Accident Tolerant Fuel

“There’s no other utility that won two TIP awards. For us to get both awards in our department is unique,” said John Williams, Nuclear Fuels and Analysis director. “I’m proud of the work we’re doing, and I’m excited about the opportunities to come as we continue to work on innovative fuel technologies in nuclear power generation.”

GNF3 Fuel Product Introduction with Concurrent TRACG-LOCA Margin Optimization

Plant Hatch was the first plant in the world to reload using GNF3 (Global Nuclear Fuel), a newer, more efficient fuel for boiling water reactors (BWR). Because of the increased efficiency, Hatch was able to reduce the number of bundles required for the reload, reducing fuel costs significantly while also paying for the transition costs.

The transition to GNF3 was coupled with the first jet pump application of TRACG-LOCA ECCS methodology, enabling the plant to lower surveillance criteria and providing more flexibility.

“This is the second year for the Hatch team to win a TIP award. A second award, especially back to back, is impressive, and a credit to our organization,” said Johnathan Chavers, BWR Fuel Engineering manager.

Implementation of Framatome GAIA Enhanced Accident Tolerant Fuel

Plant Vogtle, in partnership with Framatome, is leading the industry in implementation of a complete, fully-fueled and full-length Enhanced Accident Tolerant Fuel (EATF) industry solution.

The GAIA fuel assembly, in concert with chromia enhanced pellets and chromium coated cladding, offers operators increased efficiency and reliability, while meeting the Department of Energy challenge to develop and deploy Accident Tolerant Fuel designs by 2022.

Improvements in thermal performance, safety margins and debris resistance as a result of the Framatome PROtect EATF features offer significant immediate utility cost savings. Successful licensing, delivery and operation of the PROtect EATF product at Plant Vogtle in 2019 exceeded the DOE’s goal and provides immediate industry benefits while also delivering on a normal 18-month reload timeline.

“It was a rewarding experience to be part of such a powerful partnership,” said Jennifer Baker, PWR Fuel Engineering manager. “Framatome employs very talented and capable engineers and working with that team helped us advance not only fuel innovation, but our company’s place in the industry.”

Thank you to these teammates who are working to make us better every day:

GNF3 Fuel Product Introduction with Concurrent TRACG-LOCA Margin Optimization Randy Dunavant, SNC lead BWR fuel engineer; Johnathan Chavers, SNC BWR fuel engineering manager; Patty McCumbee, GNF product line leader; Fran Bolger, GEH new fuel introduction manager; Jason Ingraham, GNF core design tech leader; Aaron Phillippe, SNC senior BWR fuel engineer; Tim Collart, SNC BWR fuel engineer; Dean Arvan, SNC BWR fuel engineer; Rob Patrick, SNC BWR fuel engineer; Diego Carvallo, SNC BWR fuel engineer; Rick Fennell, SNC senior BWR fuel engineer; Guangjun Li, GEH technical leader – LOCA and Containment Analysis; and Maria Pfeffer, GNF customer project manager

Implementation of Framatome GAIA Enhanced Accident Tolerant Fuel Jennifer Baker, SNC PWR fuel engineering manager; Matt Leonard, SNC lead PWR fuel engineer; Ray Flanery, SNC PWR fuel engineer; Jason Behrens, SNC PWR fuel engineer; and Bob Clarke, Framatome project manager