Nuclear Reactor Components 3D Printed by ORNL

Nuclear Reactor Components 3D Printed by ORNL Installed at TVA Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant
Aditya Chandavarkar
Aditya Chandavarkar is a established entrepreneur with business interests in manufacturing, innovative technology, training and consulting. Among other activities he the Co-Founder of Indian 3D Printing Network and is a subject matter expert on 3D Printing/Additive Manufacturing with good grasp of Additive Manufacturing trends in the Region including India, APAC, Middleeast and Africa.
Four first-of-a-kind 3D Printed fuel assembly brackets, produced at the Department of Energy’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, have been installed and are now under routine operating conditions at the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant Unit 2 in Athens, AL.
The components were developed in collaboration with TVA, Framatome and the DOE Office of Nuclear Energy–funded Transformational Challenge Reactor, or TCR, program based at ORNL.

“Deploying 3D-printed components in a reactor application is a great milestone,” said ORNL’s Ben Betzler, TCR program director. “It shows that it is possible to deliver qualified components in a highly regulated environment. This program bridges basic and applied science and technology to deliver tangible solutions that show how advanced manufacturing can transform reactor technology and components.”

“ORNL offers everything under one roof: state-of-the-art printing capabilities, world-class expertise in machining, next-generation digital manufacturing technologies, plus comprehensive characterization and testing equipment,” said Ryan Dehoff, ORNL section head for Secure and Digital Manufacturing.

The channel fasteners’ straightforward, though non-symmetric, geometry was a good match for a first-ever additive manufacturing application for use in a nuclear reactor.

ORNL’s broad nuclear research and development activities are directed toward providing science and technology breakthroughs to extend the viability and operations of the nation’s nuclear power plant fleet, while also accelerating the deployment of new, advanced nuclear power technologies.

“Collaborating with TVA and ORNL allows us to deploy innovative technologies and explore emerging 3D printing markets that will benefit the nuclear energy industry,” said John Strumpell, manager of North America Fuel R&D at Framatome. “This project provides the foundation for designing and manufacturing a variety of 3D-printed parts that will contribute to creating a clean energy future.”

Operations at Browns Ferry resumed April 22, 2021, after a planned outage to replace a variety of components for continued safe, reliable operation and delivery of carbon-free electricity. The brackets will remain in the reactor for six years with regular inspections during that period.

  • Tags

You May Also Like

Related Content

About the Author

Author Profile

Aditya Chandavarkar
Aditya Chandavarkar is a established entrepreneur with business interests in manufacturing, innovative technology, training and consulting. Among other activities he the Co-Founder of Indian 3D Printing Network and is a subject matter expert on 3D Printing/Additive Manufacturing with good grasp of Additive Manufacturing trends in the Region including India, APAC, Middleeast and Africa.