Technological progress: INB produces mini fuel assembly

One further technology is developed by Indústrias Nucleares do Brasil (INB). This time, the construction of a fuel assembly in reduced proportions and with characteristics similar to the one produced for Angra 2, in order to improve neutron calibration - equipment used in measuring the amount of uranium present in the fuel.

The project was finalized in the second half of 2017 and tested by the US Department of Energy (DOE) and the Nuclear Safeguards Laboratory of CNEN in March this year. The results were encouraging.

 "The objective is to calibrate the equipment that will measure the amount of uranium, increasing the precision of the data," explains the director of Nuclear Fuel Production, Marcelo Xavier. Before the implementation of the project, the Neutron Collars were calibrated directly in the fuel which, due to its large dimensions (5 meters high), allowed a variation of the results obtained by up to 5%. Another advantage of the mini assembly is the possibility of removing the rods, which enables its reconfiguration and doing simulations.

 Engineer Luiz Antonio da Silva explains that the results also benefit the company's technical staff. "The gain for INB will mainly be in training safeguards and neutronics personnel in fuel engineering, in knowledge and further skill-building in this type of measurement, which is one of the most refined in the world," he says.