AREVA's Nuclear Fuel Business Unit designs and manufactures fuel rod bundles for pressurized water reactors (PWRs) and boiling water reactors (BWRs), as well as for research reactors. AREVA is the European leader in this field.
Uranium oxide pellets, here at the FBFC plant in Romans (Isère Département), constitutes the fissile material for the nuclear reactor, i.e., its fuel. Each pellet weighs only 7 grams, but can free as much energy as one ton of coal.
Thanks to its many manufacturing plants, such as the CEZUS factory at Paimboeuf (Loire-Atlantique Département) shown here, which manufactures fuel rod tubes and structural tubes for reactors, AREVA is world leader on the zirconium market for products used in the nuclear industry.
The CEZUS factory at Paimboeuf (Loire-Atlantique Département) manufactures fuel rod tubes and structural tubes in zirconium for PWR and BWR reactors worldwide. The plant produces 5000 km of tubes annually.
Before being installed in a fuel bundle, each zircaloy tube is checked manually, as shown here at the ANF plant in Duisbourg (Germany), where over 2000 km of pellet-filled tubes are produced each year.
The structural skeleton of a fuel bundle, shown here at the FBFC plant in Pierrelatte (Drôme Département) is in zircaloy, and is composed of guide tubes, spacer grids and top and bottom nozzles. Each bundle contains 264 fuel rods.
Fuel rods, shown here at the FBFC plant in Romans (Isère Département), comprise watertight tubes in zircaloy plugged at both ends. The tube constitutes the first containment barrier for the 300 pellets or so of uranium oxide contained in each rod.
Once the rods have been positioned in the structural skeleton, the fuel bundle is raised, as shown here at the Upac workshop of the FBFC plant in Romans (Isère Département). The bundle is around 4 meters in height and contains 200 to 500 kg of fissile material; it will constitute the core of the reactor, where nuclear fission
Getting ready for shipment to a nuclear power plant, these fuel bundles are being suitably packed at the Lynchburg plant in Virginia (US). AREVA proposes logistics solutions ensuring the safe transport of nuclear materials.
The AREVA Front End Business Group combines activities associated with the conversion and enrichment of uranium and with the design and fuel production for nuclear reactors.
AREVA leads Front End Fuel Cycle Operations in North America.
AREVA is one of the world leaders in the front end of the nuclear cycle, i.e. uranium conversion and enrichment and nuclear fuel fabrication.
Decades of expertise with the design and fuel production for nuclear reactors.
AREVA provides uranium enrichment services and is working to build an enrichment plant for the United States.
AREVA Front End business group combines activities associated with the conversion and enrichment of uranium and with the design and fuel production for nuclear reactors.
Enrichment, a key stage in the fuel chain
To obtain fuel that can be used in nuclear reactors, the concentration of uranium 235 found in natural uranium must be increased; this is called enrichment. Present throughout the nuclear fuel cycle, AREVA ensures uranium enrichment in France and will soon do so in the United States as well.