Power company Westinghouse has announced that they have installed two 3D printed nuclear fuel debris filters in nuclear power plants in both Finland and Sweden.
The 3D-printed nuclear fuel debris filter, dubbed the “StrongHold AM” has been installed in two Nordic Boiling Water Reactor (BWR) units. The first is installed at the Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant in Finland, specifically in the Olkiluoto 2 unit.
The second StrongHold AM fuel debris filter has been installed in Finland, and at Oskarshamn Nuclear Power Plant in Sweden (specifically Oskarshamn unit 3). The fuel debris filters will improve the reliability of both nuclear plants. You can see the debris filter in the image below.
While the name may suggest that this is a filter that filters fuel (like a car fuel filter), it is in fact for filtering the coolant around the fuel. Wear and tear in the reactor system, or debris from machining can enter the coolant system and cause havoc.
“Fuel damages can force us to temporarily suspend operations, which affects security of supply and entails unnecessary costs,” said Andreas Roos, Oskarshamn 3 Plant Manager.
“Reducing the risk of fuel damages is very positive for our business.”
The fuel debris filters prevent debris from entering the fuel assembly and potentially damaging the cladding, which could cause unplanned and expensive outages.
“We can now gain important practical experience in the use of 3D-printed metal products which will become an ever more important operational solution going forward. It is important to have a strong network of partners like Westinghouse who deploy additive manufacturing to drive enhanced capability.”
The filter has been designed and manufactured in partnership with plant operators Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO) and OKG.
“We can now gain important practical experience in the use of 3D-printed metal products which will become an ever more important operational solution going forward,” said Arttu Knuutila, TVO Fuel Procurement Team Leader.
“It is important to have a strong network of partners like Westinghouse who deploy additive manufacturing to drive enhanced capability.”
Westinghouse’s technology is the basis for nearly one-half of the world’s operating nuclear power plants, and they were the first company to install a 3D printed component (the nuclear thimble) inside an operating nuclear power plant.
“As the first 3D-printed fuel debris filter for insertion in a nuclear power plant, the StrongHold AM marks a major milestone in our effort to further improve the BWR fuel reliability by leveraging advances in manufacturing technology,” said Dr. Carina Önneby, Westinghouse Vice President EMEA Fuel Delivery.
There is no information as to what material or which process was used to manufacture the debris filter, but it does look a little titanium-colored.
Author Phillip Keane