Uranium & Fuel

Framatome / French Company Produces First Triga Fuel Element In A Decade

By Kamen Kraev
17 March 2023

Move aimed at supplying crucial research reactors
French Company Produces First Triga Fuel Element In A Decade
A Triga research reactor at the Jozef Stefan Institute in Slovenia.
France’s Framatome has restarted production of metallic fuel for Triga research reactors in the US.

The company said it manufactured the first fuel element in over a decade, in a move to ramp up supply of the fuel for Triga type reactors in the US and overseas.

Framatome said Triga International, a joint venture with US-based General Atomics, will be charged with boosting production with the support of the US Department of Energy (DOE).

Last month, the DOE and Triga International signed a nine-year contract to secure new fuel elements for half of the US’ university-operated research reactors.

The first batch of fuel is expected to be delivered to the US by the end of 2023.

Triga International is the world’s only Triga fuel supplier. The company completed a major renovation project last year at its manufacturing plant in Romans, France, costing $80m (€75.5m). Operations at the plant resumed for the first time since 2012.

Framatome said the Triga fuel element design was presented to the DOE in December 2022. It said the properties of Triga fuel can be transitioned to non-Triga plants such as small modular, micro or advanced reactors.

Triga (Training, Research, Isotopes, General Atomics) reactors are primarily used for student training, research projects and isotope production. Triga is an open-pool design which uses uranium zirconium hydride fuel.

There are 36 Triga reactors in operation around the world, including 18 in the US.

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