NUCLEAR workers on the Fylde have delivered the first fuel rods of a breakthrough export project.
Staff at Westinghouse Electric Company’s nuclear fuel manufacturing plant at Springfields, has dispatched its first consignment of Light Water Reactor (LWR) fuel assemblies to France.
The fuel will be used in French power firm EDF’s Gravelines 5 power station in the north of France in a move which will help safeguard jobs.
Although Springfields has previously exported finished fuel and intermediate fuel products around the world, this is the first time that LWR fuel has been exported to France and the first time it has supplied EDF, the company’s largest customer, with fuel for export.
Springfields currently supplies EDF with all of the fuel for its Advanced Gas-cooled Reactors (AGRs) in the U.K.
The production of the fuel assemblies follows significant investment by Westinghouse in an extensive refurbishment of the LWR production facilities at Springfields.
The changes bring them up to current safety and operational standards and incorporating many improvements and best practices from Westinghouse’s fuel manufacturing plants elsewhere in Europe and the U.S.
The plant can produce 200 tonnes of fuel a year, with the capability to increase this capacity further.
Mick Gornall, Westinghouse Springfields’ site operations director, said: “We are naturally delighted that the first delivery of LWR fuel for EDF in France has been completed.
“This is the result of a tremendous amount of hard work and support by many people at Springfields to ensure that the product qualification was approved by EDF.”
The delivery is the culmination of a rigorous extensive product qualification exercise to ensure the manufacturing plant at Springfields meets EDF’s exacting quality and production standards.
This process included all aspects of the fuel manufacturing route.