Framatome to provide GAIA fuel for Holtec’s SMR-160

28 May 2020

Framatome is further expanding its presence in the small modular reactor (SMR) market after being awarded a contract to provide fuel for Holtec International’s SMR-160 design. Holtec will use GAIA, Framatome’s most advanced pressurized water reactor (PWR) fuel design, manufactured at the fuel fabrication facility located in Richland, Wash.

Framatome’s GAIA fuel design allows Holtec to benefit from the fuel-related operational experience gained from the existing light water reactor fleet, and significantly reduces the first-of-a-kind engineering needed for the SMR-160 fuel system.

Framatome developed its GAIA fuel to optimize reactor performance and to ensure high safety margins under the increasingly demanding operating conditions of PWRs including capacity uprates and extensions on fuel cycle lengths of up to 24 months.

The GAIA fuel design offers electric utilities cost savings as well as improved thermal performance and fuel utilization. In addition, GAIA uses advanced M5 zirconium alloy cladding, which offers superior margins and meets anticipated changes in U.S. nuclear regulatory requirements.

Holtec’s SMR-160 is a light water-based, pressurized small modular reactor design which generates 160 MWe (525 MWth) and relies upon simple and passive systems to achieve aggressive safety goals and economic performance.