Fuel Component Patents (Class 376/261)
  • Patent number: 10978212
    Abstract: A system and method for consolidating used nuclear fuel rods using tools operably suspendable in a recess containing the used nuclear fuel rods. The systems and methods safely consolidate the used nuclear fuel rods in containers.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 16, 2018
    Date of Patent: April 13, 2021
    Assignee: National Technology & Engineering Solutions of Sandia, LLC
    Inventor: Scott E. Rose
  • Patent number: 10814495
    Abstract: Systems and methods for securing a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to a subsea structure during cleaning, maintenance, or inspection of the structure surface are provided. In one or more embodiments, an attachment mechanism includes a pair of grasping hooks that are raised and lowered when driven by a motorized drive. In one or more embodiments, an attachment mechanism includes a rigid holder having a mechanical stop and connected to a swing arm, the swing arm configured to rotate inward, but not outward beyond the mechanical stop. In one or more embodiments, an attachment mechanism includes a plurality of linked segments in series, each connected at a plurality of pivot points. A pair of wires passes through the plurality of linked segments and connects to a pair of pulleys that extend or retract the wires, thereby rotating the plurality of linked segments.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 12, 2018
    Date of Patent: October 27, 2020
    Inventors: Sahejad Patel, Fadl Abdellatif, Hassane Trigui, Ali Outa, Abdullah Arab
  • Patent number: 10807234
    Abstract: A machine learning device in a component supply device includes: a state observation unit, a determination data acquisition unit, and a learning unit. The state observation unit observes state variables representing a current state of an environment. The state variables include (i) vibration operation parameter data representing an operation parameters for a vibration operation of a tray, (ii) component arrangement data representing an arrangement and a posture of components on the tray, and (iii) component kind data representing a kind of the components. The determination data acquisition unit acquires determination data representing a suitability determination result of the vibration operation, which represents efficiency in supply of the components.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 29, 2018
    Date of Patent: October 20, 2020
    Inventor: Motoshi Iwanami
  • Patent number: 10755822
    Abstract: A rod transfer assembly has an outer rotating plug. A pick-up arm assembly extends from the outer rotating plug and includes a pivoting arm. An inner rotating plug is disposed off-center from and within the outer rotating plug and is rotatable independent of a rotation of the outer rotating plug. An access port rotating plug is disposed off-center from and within the inner rotating plug and is rotatable independent of rotation of the outer and inner rotating plugs. A pull arm extends from the access port rotating plug.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 2, 2017
    Date of Patent: August 25, 2020
    Assignee: TerraPower, LLC
    Inventors: Peter W. Gibbons, Stephen W. Hiller, Calen Kaneko, Owen Dean Nelson, Ashok Odedra, P. Harley Park
  • Patent number: 10720252
    Abstract: A pellet magazine includes a plurality of pellet bores sized to receive pellets for loading into a fuel rod. A fuel rod loading system includes a plurality of pellet loading stations each designated to load a single pellet type into one or more pellet bores of the pellet magazine, a rod loading station configured to unload pellets from the pellet bores of the pellet magazine into a fuel rod, and a conveyance system configured to transport the pellet magazine to the loading stations and then to the rod loading station in a defined sequence.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 13, 2014
    Date of Patent: July 21, 2020
    Assignee: BWXT mPower, Inc.
    Inventors: Jeffrey T. Lee, Earl B. Barger
  • Patent number: 10522255
    Abstract: A method of manufacturing nuclear fuel elements may include: forming a base portion of the fuel element by depositing a powdered matrix material including a mixture of a graphite material and a fibrous material; depositing particles on the base portion in a predetermined pattern to form a first particle layer, by controlling the position of each particle in the first particle layer; depositing the matrix material on the first particle layer to form a first matrix layer; depositing particles on the first matrix layer in a predetermined pattern to form a second particle layer by controlling positions of each particle in the second particle layer; depositing the matrix material on the second particle layer to form a second matrix layer; and forming a cap portion of the fuel pebble by depositing the matrix material. The particles in the first particle layer and the second particle layer include nuclear fuel particles.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 9, 2017
    Date of Patent: December 31, 2019
    Assignee: X-Energy, LLC
    Inventors: Martin van Staden, Peter Pappano
  • Patent number: 10311988
    Abstract: A system and method for removing spent fuel assemblies from a fuel building and transporting them to on-site facilities. A cask transporter is moved into the fuel building with an empty spent fuel storage cask, spent fuel assemblies are loaded into spent fuel storage cask, the cask is sealed, and the cask transporter moves the loaded spent fuel storage cask to a handling area for final disposal. Components of the system include a penetration cover, a lifting mechanism, a control system, a valve system, and the cask transporter.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 20, 2017
    Date of Patent: June 4, 2019
    Assignee: MHE Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: Steven K. Waisanen, Joe Yustus
  • Patent number: 10032533
    Abstract: Systems and methods of transferring nuclear fuel from fuel pools having size and/or weight limitations to a storage or transport cask are disclosed. A canister containing spent nuclear fuel is inserted into a transfer cask. A shielding sleeve is then placed around the transfer cask. A lifting device simultaneously lifts the transfer cask and the shielding sleeve over a storage cask and the spent fuel is transferred from the transfer cask to the storage or transport cask.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 2, 2014
    Date of Patent: July 24, 2018
    Inventors: George C. Carver, Juan C. Subiry, John T. Donahoe, Vadim Z. Shtylman
  • Patent number: 9938605
    Abstract: Methods of preparing Zr based metallic using Zr sponge refined by a refining process are described. An exemplary method includes heating Zr sponge in a processing chamber with an electron-beam-heating apparatus or an arc-melting apparatus under a desired pressure condition to release volatile contaminants from the Zr sponge, introducing a purge gas into the processing chamber and permitting the purge gas to intermingle with at least some of the released volatile contaminants, evacuating the processing chamber to extract at least some of the purge gas and released volatile contaminants, repeating the heating of the Zr sponge, the introducing of the purge gas, and the evacuating of the processing chamber release and evacuate additional volatile contaminants from the Zr sponge to provide a processed Zr sponge with enhanced purity, and melting the processed Zr sponge with multiple other alloy constituents to provide a Zr-based metallic alloy.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 1, 2015
    Date of Patent: April 10, 2018
    Assignee: Materion Corporation
    Inventor: James A. Yurko
  • Patent number: 9847143
    Abstract: A top end plug design for a nuclear fuel rod or control rod that maximizes the fuel rod length and internal volume for high burn-up, but limits plenum spring melting for eutectic formation margin. The press fit length of the top end plug is increased to increase the distance from the center of heat from the TIG welding process that seals the end plug to the cladding, to the back face of the end plug. A hole in the back of the end plug is enlarged to recover the volume loss from the press fit length increase.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 29, 2014
    Date of Patent: December 19, 2017
    Assignee: Westinghouse Electric Company LLC
    Inventors: David A. Boatwright, Kenneth K. Klapper, Jacob X. Huang
  • Patent number: 9767929
    Abstract: A new, improved grid spacer for a nuclear fuel assembly is provided, comprising several straps which intersect each other alternatively to form a plurality of grid cells and fuel rods reside in some of the grid cells; the grid spacer further comprises mixing elements set at the corner of the grid cells in which the fuel rods have resided; wherein the mixing element comprises a mixing vane stretching towards the direction of the fuel rod and a flow funnel set on the bended edge of the mixing vane continuously and extending towards adjacent grid cells; the mixing vane and the flow funnel set across two sides of two adjacent grid cells respectively, and the flow funnel introduces the coolant in the grid cell at its side to the mixing vane, then the mixing vane introduces the coolant to the grid cell at its own side.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 4, 2013
    Date of Patent: September 19, 2017
    Inventors: Wenchi Yu, Yuemin Zhou, Weicai Li, Xiaoming Chen, Zhengzheng Pang, Jingwen Yan, Yan Guo
  • Patent number: 9721688
    Abstract: A shipping container containing an unirradiated nuclear fuel assembly is lifted off the ground by operating a crane to raise a lifting tool comprising a winch. The lifting tool is connected with the shipping container by a rigging line connecting with the shipping container at a lifting point located on the shipping container between the top and bottom of the shipping container, and by winch cabling connecting with the shipping container at the top of the shipping container. The shipping container is reoriented by operating the winch to adjust the length of the winch cabling so as to rotate the shipping container about the lifting point. Shortening the winch cabling rotates the shipping container about the lifting point from a horizontal orientation to a vertical orientation, while lengthening the winch cabling rotates the shipping container about the lifting point from the vertical orientation to the horizontal orientation.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 12, 2014
    Date of Patent: August 1, 2017
    Assignee: BWXT mPower, Inc.
    Inventor: Michael J. Nilles
  • Patent number: 9666314
    Abstract: A device of repairing a damaged area in an underwater wall region of a container or tank, in particular in the wall region of a tank of a nuclear reactor installation. The device has a guide system that can be mounted along a side wall, at a distance therefrom, and can be secured thereto. At least one first carriage is fitted onto the track of the guide system and movable in a longitudinal direction of the guide system. On the carriage there is displaceably mounted a receptacle for a repair overlay, which can be applied with an adhesive surface to the wall region containing the damaged area. At least one suction mount that is connected to a suction line is disposed on the first carriage and can be suctioned to the side wall.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 31, 2012
    Date of Patent: May 30, 2017
    Assignee: AREVA GMBH
    Inventors: Georg Krämer, Konrad Meier-Hynek, Lothar Nehr
  • Patent number: 9611391
    Abstract: One aspect of the present invention includes an article. The article includes a substrate and a coating disposed on the substrate, wherein the coating includes a plurality of cermet particles bonded along their prior particle boundaries. The plurality of cermet particles have a median particle size less than about 5 microns and less than 25 percent of the plurality of cermet particles include melted and re-solidified particles. Gate valves are also presented.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 3, 2014
    Date of Patent: April 4, 2017
    Assignee: General Electric Company
    Inventors: Leonardo Ajdelsztajn, James Anthony Ruud, Dennis Michael Gray
  • Patent number: 9564250
    Abstract: A device for turning a container about a turning axis is provided. The device includes a stationary holding member and two bearing members which are spaced apart along the turning axis on each side of a space for receiving a container, and which are capable of being used for bearing on the container while enabling the rotation of the container about the turning axis relative to the bearing members. The device includes a movable holding member that is mounted onto the stationary holding member so as to rotate about the turning axis, at least one bearing member being supported by the movable holding member while being mounted onto the movable holding member so as to rotate about the drive axis, the or each bearing member supported by the movable holding member not rotating about the turning axis relative to the stationary holding member when the movable holding member rotates about the turning axis relative to the stationary holding member.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 17, 2012
    Date of Patent: February 7, 2017
    Assignee: AREVA NP
    Inventor: Luc Bresous
  • Patent number: 9208911
    Abstract: This invention relates to a computational system and method for performing a safety analysis of a postulated Loss of Coolant Accident in a nuclear reactor for a full spectrum of break sizes including various small, intermediate and large breaks. Further, modeling and analyzing the postulated small break, intermediate break and large break LOCAs are performed with a single computer code and a single input model properly validated against relevant experimental data. Input and physical model uncertainties are combined following a random sampling process, e.g., a direct Monte Carlo approach (ASTRUM-FS) and advanced statistical procedures are utilized to show compliance with Nuclear Regulatory Commission 10 CFR 50.46 criteria.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 23, 2011
    Date of Patent: December 8, 2015
    Assignee: Westinghouse Electric Company LLC
    Inventors: Cesare Frepoli, Katsuhiro Ohkawa
  • Patent number: 9105365
    Abstract: A system and method for storing radioactive waste, such as spent nuclear fuel, in one embodiment, the invention is a method of controlling temperature of a portion of a storage system comprising a container loaded with radioactive waste and a ventilated module in which the container is positioned, the ventilated module configured so that heat generated by the radioactive waste causes a natural convective flow of air through, a ventilation passageway of the ventilated module, the method comprising; throttling the natural convective flow of the air through the ventilated module to alter a heat rejection rate of the storage system to compensate for a decreasing heat generation rate of the radioactive waste to maintain the portion of the storage system within a predetermined temperature range.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 29, 2012
    Date of Patent: August 11, 2015
    Inventors: Krishna P. Singh, Richard M. Springman
  • Patent number: 8995603
    Abstract: A control rod/fuel support handling apparatus that is used in the case where a control rod and a fuel support are held, removed and lifted in a reactor and then are transported into the reactor in a periodical inspection of a BWR and in the case where the control rod and the fuel support are attached and mounted again into the reactor, the control rod/fuel support handling apparatus including: a fuel support gripper that holds the fuel support with a support gripping member; a control rod gripper that includes a vertically movable and rotatable elevating/rotating unit, holds the control rod with a control rod gripping member, disconnects and connects the control rod and a control rod drive mechanism, and allows removal and attachment of the control rod; and a control panel that controls automatically controls the control rod gripper in response to the instructions from an operation pendant.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 18, 2009
    Date of Patent: March 31, 2015
    Assignee: Kabushiki Kaisha Toshiba
    Inventors: Tsutomu Tomatsu, Koichi Soma, Kaoru Takagi
  • Patent number: 8964928
    Abstract: A fuel element handling system having a gripping device, the structure of which can be pushed in the horizontal position and uncoupled from the handling system if a failure occurs, uncoupling releasing the load formed by the fuel elements and their gripped support and putting them in a safe situation.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 7, 2009
    Date of Patent: February 24, 2015
    Assignee: Areva NC
    Inventor: Patrick Barrier
  • Patent number: 8958520
    Abstract: A top nozzle is provided. The top nozzle can include a coupling plate, a perimeter wall and a hold-down spring unit. The coupling plate can be coupled to a guide thimble of the nuclear fuel assembly. The perimeter wall can protrude upwards from the perimeter of the coupling plate. A spring clamp can be provided on the upper surface of the perimeter wall. The hold-down spring unit can be mounted to the upper surface of the perimeter wall in such a way to couple a corresponding end of the hold-down spring unit to the spring clamp. A fastening pin hole can be vertically formed through an upper surface of the spring clamp. A spring insert hole into which the hold-down spring unit can be inserted and formed by electro-discharge machining in an insert direction of the hold-down spring.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 15, 2012
    Date of Patent: February 17, 2015
    Assignee: Korea Nuclear Fuel Co., Ltd.
    Inventors: Joon Kyoo Park, Jin Seok Lee, Kyeong Lak Jeon, Jung Min Suh, Gi-Jun Gwon, Nam Gyu Park, Kyong Bo Eom, Jin Sun Kim, Dong Geun Ha, Kyoung Joo Kim
  • Patent number: 8953733
    Abstract: A method for joint configuration of nuclear power plant fuel includes the following steps: (S1) for at least one operating unit, based on an equilibrium cycle or transition cycle reactor core design, at least one new fuel element is added to at least one operating unit; (S2) after running a combustion cycle, and on basis of the new fuel elements in step (S1), more first spent fuel elements are obtained from the at least one operating unit than are obtained from the equilibrium cycle or transition cycle reactor core design, and said first spent fuel elements are kept in reserve; (S3) for at least one new starting unit, a scheduled number of new fuel elements, as well as the first spent fuel elements obtained for reserve in step (S2), are set in the first reactor cores of at least one new starting unit.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 21, 2010
    Date of Patent: February 10, 2015
    Assignees: China Nuclear Power Engineering Compay Ltd., China Nuclear Power Technology Research Institute, China Guangdong Nuclear Power Holding Corporation
    Inventor: Zirong Ma
  • Patent number: 8842801
    Abstract: A rod assembly for a fuel bundle of a nuclear reactor may include an upper end piece, lower end piece and a plurality of rod segments attached between the upper and lower end pieces and to each other so as to form an axial length of the rod assembly. The rod assembly may include an adaptor subassembly provided at given connection points for connecting adjacent rod segments or a given rod segment with one of the upper and lower end pieces. The connection points along the axial length of the rod assembly may be located where the rod assembly contacts a spacer in the fuel bundle. One (or more) of the rod segments may include an irradiation target therein for producing a desired isotope when a fuel bundle containing one (or more) rod assemblies is irradiated in a core of the reactor.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 30, 2008
    Date of Patent: September 23, 2014
    Assignee: General Electric Company
    Inventors: Russell Morgan Fawcett, Randy Peter Gonzales, Russell Patrick Higgins, Robert Bryant James, Michael Thomas Kiernan, William Earl Russell, II, Steven Bruce Shelton, David Grey Smith, Russell Edward Stachowski, Lukas Trosman
  • Patent number: 8817942
    Abstract: The present invention relates to a nuclear reactor, in particular a pool-type nuclear reactor cooled with liquid metal (for example, a heavy metal such as lead or lead-bismuth eutectic) or with sodium or molten salts, having a core formed by a bundle of fuel elements and immersed in a primary fluid circulating between the core and at least one heat exchanger; the fuel elements extend along respective parallel longitudinal axes and have respective bottom active parts immersed in the primary fluid to constitute the core, and respective service parts that extend at the top from the active parts and emerge from the primary fluid; the fuel elements are mechanically supported via respective top end heads anchored to supporting structures and can be operated via handling machines.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 25, 2008
    Date of Patent: August 26, 2014
    Assignees: Del Nova Vis S.r.l.
    Inventor: Luciano Cinotti
  • Patent number: 8804895
    Abstract: The invention concerns a cask for a canister containing radioactive material, comprising a canister extraction assembly and designed so that it can bring the canister to an extraction position inside the cask housing in which this canister is free of any contact with the inner surface. Also, one of two elements from among a carriage and a support structure of the assembly is provided with a guide ramp cooperating with a ramp follower provided on the other of the two elements, the ramp being designed so that a relative translational movement between the carriage and the structure, in the longitudinal direction of the cask, causes the changeover of the two elements from a drawn-together position to a drawn-apart position, or conversely.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 9, 2006
    Date of Patent: August 12, 2014
    Assignee: TN International
    Inventors: Jean-Pierre Bersegol, Justo Garcia
  • Publication number: 20140205050
    Abstract: A fuel assembly handling tool that can be lowered onto the top nozzle of a fuel assembly, positively latch the top nozzle, unlatch from the top nozzle, and be raised off the top nozzle of the fuel assembly. The tool head, that interfaces with the top nozzle has load bearing grippers that latch onto the fuel assembly, that are located in a storage position up within the tool while the tool is lowered onto the fuel assembly. The gripper fingers are then lowered into position during the latching process, and are raised back to the storage position during the unlatching process. In the storage position, the gripping fingers are spaced above the fuel assembly top nozzle when the tool head is resting on the nozzle.
    Type: Application
    Filed: March 5, 2013
    Publication date: July 24, 2014
    Applicant: Westinghouse Electric Company LLC
    Inventor: Westinghouse Electric Company LLC
  • Publication number: 20140192945
    Abstract: Disclosed is a fuel rod auto-loading apparatus for a nuclear fuel assembly, which disposes fuel rods in a fuel rod case in a bundle to assemble the fuel rods into the nuclear fuel assembly. The fuel rod auto-loading apparatus includes a fuel rod storage unit having a plurality of stacked racks for fuel rods, a fuel rod loading unit raised/lowered to the racks and transferring the fuel rods, a feeding unit placing the fuel rods in rows and loading the fuel rods into the fuel rod case, a fuel rod unloading unit selectively unloading some of the fuel rods stored in the fuel rod storage unit and transferring the fuel rods to the feeding unit, a fuel rod assembly lifter which is disposed parallel to the feeding unit, and a controller controlling driving of the fuel rod loading unit, the feeding unit, and the fuel rod unloading unit.
    Type: Application
    Filed: January 8, 2014
    Publication date: July 10, 2014
    Inventors: Ju Young LEE, Chang Hwan HWANG, Hung Soon CHANG, Soon Ki GUK, Yeon Doo JUNG, Ui Jea LEE
  • Patent number: 8767902
    Abstract: Nuclear reactor systems and methods are described having many unique features tailored to address the special conditions and needs of emerging markets. The fast neutron spectrum nuclear reactor system may include a reactor having a reactor tank. A reactor core may be located within the reactor tank. The reactor core may include a fuel column of metal or cermet fuel using liquid sodium as a heat transfer medium. A pump may circulate the liquid sodium through a heat exchanger. The system may include a balance of plant with no nuclear safety function. The reactor may be modular, and may produce approximately 100 MWe.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 18, 2011
    Date of Patent: July 1, 2014
    Assignee: Advanced Reactor Concepts LLC
    Inventor: Leon C. Walters
  • Publication number: 20140153686
    Abstract: A system for gripping an inner tube and locking/unlocking it into and from an outer tube concentric with the inner tube. The system according to the invention is provided with one or more catching devices which allow both sealed locking/unlocking of the inner tube to the gripper member and of the inner tube in the outer tube, achieving this with only a translational movement of the gripper member over a travel A or a travel B. The system according to the invention advantageously constitutes a system for inserting and extracting a specimen holder tube intended to house a specimen of nuclear materials, such as nuclear fuels, into and from a measurement instrumentation holder tube intended to house measurement sensors and a cooling system.
    Type: Application
    Filed: December 4, 2013
    Publication date: June 5, 2014
    Inventors: Sebastien Gay, Niels Peyre
  • Patent number: 8681921
    Abstract: An embodiment of the present invention takes the form of a system that allows for simultaneously assembling or disassembling multiple segmented nuclear fuel rods (hereinafter “segmented rods”). An embodiment of the present invention, may receive, secure, and move the segmented rods into a position that allows for performing the tasks of either assembly or disassembly, allowing for an operator to use a tool to complete the aforementioned tasks.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 30, 2009
    Date of Patent: March 25, 2014
    Assignee: GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy Americas, LLC
    Inventors: Bradley D. Bloomquist, David Grey Smith, David P. Ketcham, William Earl Russell, II
  • Patent number: 8666016
    Abstract: A fuel exchange apparatus, comprising: a traveling carriage moving horizontally in one direction; a traversing carriage moving horizontally on the traveling carriage in a direction orthogonal to the one direction in which the traveling carriage moves; and a fuel holding unit attached to the traversing carriage, and including an telescopic tube enabling to extend and contract, a holding tool for holding a fuel assembly and releasing the held fuel assembly, and a lifter for raising and lowering the holding tool by winding and running out linear members for suspending and supporting the holding tool from the traversing carriage, wherein the holding tool is selectively placed in a constrained state in which the holding tool is subject to a constraint by the telescopic tube and in a freely suspended state in which the holding tool is released from the constraint by the telescopic tube and freely suspended by the linear members.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 7, 2007
    Date of Patent: March 4, 2014
    Assignee: Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy, Ltd.
    Inventors: Yutaka Arai, Yuji Hosoda, Ryoji Azumaishi, Yutaka Kometani, Kunihiko Iwama
  • Patent number: 8599989
    Abstract: Provided is a modular reactor head area assembly. The modular reactor head area assembly is installed on a reactor head, and includes: a seismic support structure that performs functions of lifting, moving and reinstallation of the reactor head and control rod driving apparatuses, cooling of the control rod driving apparatuses, shielding of missile parts, and supporting with respect to a seismic load, and disperses a load applied to the control rod driving apparatuses; an upper module that is an assembly of components located at an upper portion of the seismic support structure for the control rod driving apparatuses; and a lower module that is an assembly of components located at a lower portion of the seismic support structure for the control rod driving apparatuses. The upper module and the lower module are 252 detachably coupled to each other so that maintenance of the control rod driving apparatus can be performed easily.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 31, 2007
    Date of Patent: December 3, 2013
    Assignee: Korea Power Engineering Company, Inc.
    Inventors: Tae-Kyo Kang, Hyun-Min Kim, Young-Ju Kwon, Kwang-Hee Cho, Ki-Seok Yoon, In-Yong Kim, Yeon-Ho Cho, Myoung-Goo Lee
  • Patent number: 8599990
    Abstract: The present invention relates generally to nuclear reactors, and more particularly, to nuclear reactors having fuel assemblies that employ support grids. A method of reducing friction and physical contact between a fuel rod and support grid in a nuclear fuel assembly is provided. The method includes applying a lubricant composition to the outer surface of the fuel rod during fuel assembly fabrication and removing the lubricant composition afterward.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 22, 2009
    Date of Patent: December 3, 2013
    Assignee: Westinghouse Electric Company LLC
    Inventors: Michael O. Bausch, David C. Crone, Randal K. Lincoln
  • Patent number: 8594267
    Abstract: A method for selecting a loading map for a nuclear reactor core including the following steps: a) providing production data relating to the nuclear fuel assemblies, b) providing neutron data which are representative of the operation of the core, c) calculating the three-dimensional distribution of the local power in the core, d) calculating the extreme value reached by at least one thermomechanical parameter within the nuclear fuel assemblies, and e) selecting, in accordance with the extreme values calculated, a loading map from the loading maps envisaged. A system, computer program and storage medium for selecting a loading map for a nuclear reactor.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 11, 2010
    Date of Patent: November 26, 2013
    Assignee: Areva NP
    Inventor: Gilles Andre Poyaud
  • Publication number: 20130272470
    Abstract: A nuclear reactor core comprising fissile material is surrounded by a core former. The core former comprises one or more single-piece annular rings wherein each single-piece annular ring comprises neutron-reflecting material. In some embodiments the core former comprises a stack of two or more such single-piece annular rings. In some embodiments the stack of single-piece annular rings is self-supporting. In some embodiments the stack of single-piece annular rings does not include welds or fasteners securing adjacent single-piece annular rings together. A core basket may contain the nuclear reactor core and the core former, and in some embodiments an annular gap is defined between the core former and the core basket. In some embodiments the core former does not include welds and does not include fasteners.
    Type: Application
    Filed: September 10, 2012
    Publication date: October 17, 2013
    Inventors: Andrew C. Whitten, Michael J. Edwards, Matthew W. Ales
  • Patent number: 8526565
    Abstract: A fuel transfer system is used for transporting spent fuel from a first room to a second room. The system includes a carriage configured for travel between the first room and the second room, and a boom assembly that extends and retracts between the first room and the second room, wherein the boom assembly facilitates travel of the carriage. The system also includes a hoist system positioned in the first room. The hoist system includes at least one boom cable interconnected with the boom assembly to extend and retract the boom assembly. The hoist system also includes at least one carriage cable interconnected with the carriage to move the carriage.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 21, 2006
    Date of Patent: September 3, 2013
    Assignee: MHE Technologies, Inc.
    Inventor: Steven K. Waisanen
  • Patent number: 8495814
    Abstract: A reactor installation tool and method for installing a reactor unit in a reactor tube. A reactor installation tool including a movable assembly and a fixed assembly linked together such that the movable assembly can be adjusted relative to the fixed assembly. The movable assembly including a reactor sleeve attachment means for releasably securing a reactor sleeve loaded with a reactor unit to the tool. The fixed assembly including an expandable clamping unit for releasably securing the tool to a reactor tube. A reactor unit can be installed in the reactor tube by adjusting the movable assembly to extract the reactor unit from the reactor sleeve as the fixed assembly is rigidly secured to the reactor tube. The fixed assembly can be released from the reactor tube and the reactor installation tool can be removed from the reactor tube.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 27, 2009
    Date of Patent: July 30, 2013
    Assignee: Catacel Corp.
    Inventors: William A. Whittenberger, David A. Becker, Randall J. Bartos
  • Publication number: 20130177124
    Abstract: A device for the dry handling of nuclear fuel assemblies is provided. The device includes a transfer basket which can be connected to a lifter and which includes a gripper for gripping the fuel assembly to be transferred, the gripper being supported by a lift built into the basket; and an indexing table which can be placed on a cask and which comprises a positioner for positioning the basket over a slot in the cask.
    Type: Application
    Filed: September 14, 2011
    Publication date: July 11, 2013
    Applicant: AREVA NP
    Inventors: Mathieu Jean Maurice Chassignet, Frederic Jean-Marie Schermesser
  • Patent number: 8442182
    Abstract: A liquid fluoride salt cooled, high temperature reactor having a reactor vessel with a pebble-bed reactor core. The reactor core comprises a pebble injection inlet located at a bottom end of the reactor core and a pebble defueling outlet located at a top end of the reactor core, an inner reflector, outer reflector, and an annular pebble-bed region disposed in between the inner reflector and outer reflector. The annular pebble-bed region comprises an annular channel configured for receiving pebble fuel at the pebble injection inlet, the pebble fuel comprising a combination of seed and blanket pebbles having a density lower than the coolant such that the pebbles have positive buoyancy and migrate upward in said annular pebble-bed region toward the defueling outlet. The annular pebble-bed region comprises alternating radial layers of seed pebbles and blanket pebbles.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 15, 2011
    Date of Patent: May 14, 2013
    Assignee: The Regents of the University of California
    Inventor: Per F. Peterson
  • Patent number: 8416909
    Abstract: A method of repairing a nuclear fuel cell wall and tools useful for performing that repair are described. A repair tool may be used to align a jack near a region of a bent or distorted structural component of nuclear fuel cell and that jack may be used to apply a force to that structural component. Application of such a force may serve to bend the structural component of a nuclear fuel cell in a way to restore the structural component to its position before damage occurred. The repair tool includes a way of mounting that tool to a fuel cell, positioning elements to align the tool near a structural deformation or bent element and a jack that may be use to apply a force to at least one structural component in a fuel cell.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 29, 2009
    Date of Patent: April 9, 2013
    Assignee: STP Nuclear Operating Company
    Inventors: Walter S. Childers, Terry A. Brewer, Satish K. Dubey, Robert L. Schuck
  • Publication number: 20130010913
    Abstract: Provided is a nuclear fuel assembly positioning system having a built-in solenoid valve box in an apparatus for testing nuclear fuel used in an atomic power plant. A work table is installed at a predetermined position within an underwater fuel storage pool, and a solenoid valve box connected to two pneumatic hoses extending from the outside is integrally installed on an test table so as to drive the test table, so that only the two pneumatic hoses simplified as a gas supply hose and a gas discharge hose are connected with the test table, and thus the nuclear fuel assembly is accurately and rapidly positioned as to be able to conveniently perform testing without the structures around the hoses being interfered with when pneumatic motors are operated.
    Type: Application
    Filed: December 7, 2011
    Publication date: January 10, 2013
    Inventors: Jung Cheol Shin, Sang Kyun Woo, Je Seong You, Jung Ho Song, Seung Won Suh
  • Patent number: 8259892
    Abstract: A container including a support having at least one first longitudinal support surface defining a longitudinal housing for receiving a nuclear fuel assembly, and a door having a second longitudinal support surface. The door is movable between a position of holding the nuclear fuel assembly between the two longitudinal surfaces and a released position in which the assembly is free with respect to the support. The container includes means for adjusting the transversal separation between the first and second surfaces in the holding position of the door.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 21, 2007
    Date of Patent: September 4, 2012
    Assignee: Areva NP
    Inventors: Jacques Gauthier, Pierre Wegeler, Serge Roillet
  • Patent number: 8254516
    Abstract: An outer filter removal tool for a boiling water reactor control rod drive that uses a mechanical advantage obtained through the use of lead screw threads to pull the outer filter off of the control rod drive. Fingers on the tool are closed around the upper flange of the outer filter by sliding a collar over the outwardly biased fingers. A shaft extending through the tool is rotated which in turn extends a push plate against the control rod drive index tube causing the fingers to pull against the upper flange on the outer filter until the filter is freed from the control rod drive. The tool will hold the filter in place until affirmatively released for proper disposal.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 22, 2009
    Date of Patent: August 28, 2012
    Assignee: Westinghouse Electric Company LLC
    Inventors: David P. Ketcham, Stafford L. Turner, Robert T. Fells
  • Publication number: 20120201340
    Abstract: Systems and methods of loading and/or removing spent nuclear fuel from a spent nuclear fuel pool are disclosed. A spent fuel basket compatible with a dry storage and/or transport system is disposed in a spent nuclear fuel pool. At least one spent fuel assembly is loaded in one of a plurality of chambers associated with the spent fuel basket. The spent fuel basket is inserted into a spent fuel canister. The spent fuel canister is loaded into a transfer cask. The spent fuel canister is then transferred from the transfer cask to a storage cask or a transport cask, which can be sealed and stored on-site or in an off-site storage facility.
    Type: Application
    Filed: September 15, 2010
    Publication date: August 9, 2012
    Inventors: Charles W. Pennington, Tom Danner, George C. Carver, Craig Seaman
  • Patent number: 8191406
    Abstract: A method for treating or preparing a fuel rod cladding tube in such a way that an influence of iron oxide deposits on its surface can be studied and assessed precisely under virtually operational conditions with as little risk as possible, includes at least partially coating the fuel rod cladding tube with an iron oxide layer by immersing it in an aqueous electrolyte medium which contains iron oxide particles. The iron oxide particles are produced by anodic oxidation of an iron-containing working electrode. A test body and a device for pretreating a fuel rod cladding tube with an electrochemical three-electrode configuration, are also provided.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 22, 2009
    Date of Patent: June 5, 2012
    Assignee: Areva NP GmbH
    Inventor: Thomas Dorsch
  • Publication number: 20120128113
    Abstract: Disclosed is a remote control system for a fuel handling system of a nuclear power plant, in which the system includes a remote control console; a programmable logic controller (PLC) unit; a servo motor drive; and a human-machine interface (HMI) unit.
    Type: Application
    Filed: September 23, 2011
    Publication date: May 24, 2012
    Inventors: Byeong Taek PARK, Suk Hwan Jung
  • Patent number: 8149982
    Abstract: A tool to slide a channel on a nuclear reactor fuel bundle assembly, the tool includes: a plate having a slot to receive a handle of the fuel bundle and a lower surface that engages an upper edge of the channel; at least one post extends up from the plate, and an arm is attached to a pivot on the post and includes a first end to receive a downward force and a second end adapted to engage the handle of the fuel bundle to apply an upward force to the handle and push down on the channel.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 6, 2010
    Date of Patent: April 3, 2012
    Assignee: Global Nuclear Fuel - Americas, LLC
    Inventors: David Francis Wazybok, James Michael Downs, David Grey Smith, Edward G. Apple
  • Patent number: 8130895
    Abstract: A plurality of capsules are made available, each for receiving a fuel rod, and each comprising a tubular sheath that is closed at its ends by plugs. A loading structure is placed in a pool to receive at least one capsule with its axis vertical. A device for loading fuel rods into the capsule is secured onto an open top end of the structure. Defective rods are taken one by one and inserted one by one into empty capsules in the loading structure. For each capsule that is to receive a defective rod, a top plug of the capsule is unscrewed, a defective rod is inserted into the capsule through a guide device of the loading device, the top plug is screwed back onto the capsule, and the capsule containing the rod is put into a location in the support structure.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 22, 2004
    Date of Patent: March 6, 2012
    Assignee: Areva NP
    Inventor: Jean-Luc Veron
  • Patent number: 8126106
    Abstract: Exemplary embodiments provide automated nuclear fission reactors and methods for their operation. Exemplary embodiments and aspects include, without limitation, re-use of nuclear fission fuel, alternate fuels and fuel geometries, modular fuel cores, fast fluid cooling, variable burn-up, programmable nuclear thermostats, fast flux irradiation, temperature-driven surface area/volume ratio neutron absorption, low coolant temperature cores, refueling, and the like.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 15, 2011
    Date of Patent: February 28, 2012
    Inventors: Roderick A. Hyde, Muriel Y. Ishikawa, Nathan P. Myhrvold, Lowell L. Wood, Jr.
  • Publication number: 20120039428
    Abstract: A method of aligning a nuclear fuel bundle and handling selected fuel rods within the fuel bundle located in a spent fuel pool of a nuclear power plant. The bundle includes water rods, full-length and part-length fuel rods extending through a plurality of fuel spacers provided between top and bottom ends of the bundle, each spacer having a plurality of cells accommodating corresponding fuel and water rods. The method includes insertion of a rod grapple tool into a top end of a fuel bundle and down to a desired location within the bundle. A guide pin retrieval tool inserts into a side of the fuel bundle to remove a guide pin from a distal end of a gripper of the rod grapple tool, allowing the guide pin retrieval tool to grip a part-length fuel rod within the fuel bundle.
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 25, 2011
    Publication date: February 16, 2012
    Inventors: David P. KETCHAM, Vernon John Fullerton, David Grey Smith, Rex Gormen Robinson, Gerald A. Luciano
  • Patent number: 8107585
    Abstract: The nuclear reactor comprises a lower stopper sealingly fixed to a lower end of a tubular casing of the pencil that comprises a part which is internal to the casing successively comprising a first cylindrical section having a diameter which is substantially equal to the inner diameter of the tubular casing; a second cylindrical section whose diameter is smaller than the inner diameter of the tubular casing and a third cylindrical section whose inner diameter is smaller than the inner diameter of the tubular casing and greater than the diameter of the second cylindrical section such that 1-2 tenths of a millimetre radial play is created in the gas passable between the outer surface of the third section and the inner surface of the casing.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 2, 2004
    Date of Patent: January 31, 2012
    Assignee: Areva NP
    Inventor: François Blaudin de the