The Areva plant will start manufacturing the fuel later this year, to be loaded into one of the units at Georgia’s Vogtle Electric Generating Plant in the spring of 2019.

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The Areva plant in Richland will begin manufacturing newly developed advanced nuclear-fuel pellets that allow operators more time to respond in emergencies.

The plant will start manufacturing the fuel later this year, to be loaded into one of the units at Georgia’s Vogtle Electric Generating Plant in the spring of 2019.

Areva developed the fuel through the Department of Energy after the 2011 Fukushima, Japan, disaster.

Congress provided funding to develop fuels that can tolerate loss of active cooling in the reactor core for much longer while maintaining or improving fuel performance during normal operations.

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“This game-changing technology is not a small step, but a leap for our industry,” said John Williams, nuclear-fuel director for Southern Nuclear Operation, which operates the Georgia plant.

The fuel pellets to be manufactured in Richland will have chromia additions, providing a higher density and helping reduce fission gases if a reactor loses cooling. Chromium coating also will be added to fuel-rod cladding.