Westinghouse installs 3D-printed fuel debris filters in nuclear power plants

Westinghouse has installed its StrongHold AM 3D-printed nuclear fuel debris filters in two Nordic Boiling Water Reactor (BWR) units – Olkiluoto 2 in Finland and Oskarshamn 3 in Sweden – to further improve the plants’ operational reliability.

The StrongHold AM nuclear fuel debris filter
The StrongHold AM nuclear fuel debris filter - Photo: Business Wire.

Westinghouse created the StrongHold AM filter in close cooperation with plant operators Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO) and OKG. The StrongHold AM filters are manufactured using 3D printing techniques. Westinghouse says the filters offer enhanced capture features to prevent debris from entering the fuel assembly and potentially damaging the cladding, which could cause unplanned and expensive outages.

“As the first 3D-printed fuel debris filter for insertion in a nuclear power plant, the StrongHold AM marks a major milestone in our effort to further improve the BWR fuel reliability by leveraging advances in manufacturing technology,” says Dr Carina Önneby, Westinghouse vice president EMEA Fuel Delivery.

“We can now gain important practical experience in the use of 3D-printed metal products which will become an ever more important operational solution going forward. It is important to have a strong network of partners like Westinghouse who deploy additive manufacturing to drive enhanced capability,” says Arttu Knuutila, TVO Fuel Procurement Team Leader.

“Fuel damages can force us to temporarily suspend operations, which affects security of supply and entails unnecessary costs,” said Andreas Roos, Oskarshamn 3 Plant Manager. “Reducing the risk of fuel damages is very positive for our business.”