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ORNL and Partners Additively Manufacture Nuclear Reactor Components

ORNL channel fasteners for Framatome’s boiling water reactor fuel assembly (Courtesy Framatome/ORNL)

A collaboration between Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), and France’s Framatome, has produced four metal AM 316 stainless steel fuel assembly brackets.  The components are currently in operation at TVA’s Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant in Alabama.

The components were developed through the Transformational Challenge Reactor (TCR) program at the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at ORNL. The TCR aims to further mature and demonstrate industry-ready technology informed by advanced manufacturing, artificial intelligence, integrated sensing and deployment of a digital platform for informed certification of components.

The channel fasteners’ straightforward, though non-symmetric, geometry was said to be a good match for a metal AM application for use in a nuclear reactor. The components were additively manufactured using Laser Beam Powder Bed Fusion (PBF-LB).

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