Light Water Reactors (LWRs) are used throughout the world. The fuel for Light Water Reactors is a type of oxide fuel, manufactured within the Oxide Fuels Complex at Springfields. OFC is one of the most advanced nuclear fuel manufacturing plants in the world, producing both Advanced Gas-cooled Reactor (AGR) fuels as well as LWR fuels using state-of-the-art manufacturing techniques.
How do we make Light Water Reactor fuel?
LWR fuel uses the same manufacturing process as for AGR fuel. The fuel pellets (which are smaller than an AGR pellet) are then loaded inside zirconium alloy tubes, which are about three metres long. We then pressurize and seal them and fit them inside a pre-assembled framework to form a fuel assembly. We then inspect the assembly before we send it to the reactor. A typical LWR fuel assembly is made up of 264 zirconium alloy tubes, each containing about 300 pellets.