For the first time in the world, Framatome has just manufactured 3D printed objects in uranium – molybdenum and uranium – silicon in its CERCA research and innovation laboratory, at the Romans-sur Isère (CRIL) site. This technological breakthrough paves the way for the development and production of metallic uranium fuel plates for research reactors, and medical irradiation targets widely used by hospitals in cancer diagnostics.
Framatome 3D printing operation
The uranium – molybdenum and uranium – silicon objects were 3D printed, layer by layer, using a laser beam melter.This device, brought into compliance with the nuclear environment, operates in a glove box in an inert atmosphere, based on argon gas. This manufacturing project was developed by the R&D experts of Framatome in close collaboration with the University of Technology Belfort-Montbéliard (UTBM). Framatome will continue to develop 3D printing technology for the production of irradiation targets and other components such as fuel plates for research reactors. Research efforts at CRIL can also be applied to prototyping or even small mass production of innovative fuels for advanced fourth generation reactors.
- Read the full press release
- CIFRE thesis (doctoral student Emile Liboutet, director: Sophie Costil, co-director: Christophe Verdy) “Fabrication additive de composants pour l'énergie nucléaire" conducted with the company Framatome in Romans Sur Isère (CERCA-CRIL)