Auburn University receives model of nuclear reactor fuel assembly

Published: Jan 10, 2014 9:00:00 AM
Media Contact: Beth L. Smith,, 334.844.2924

Auburn University’s Samuel Ginn College of Engineering recently received a nuclear reactor fuel assembly model from AREVA and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). The model, which was manufactured at AREVA’s Fuel Fabrication Plant in Richland, Wash., will be used to teach students in the Alabama Power Nuclear Power Generation Systems Program.

The model represents an actual production fuel assembly which is 13.3 feet tall and 8.4 inches wide, weighing approximately 1,500 pounds. One fuel assembly of these dimensions contains enough energy to power over 17,000 homes annually.

"This detailed fuel assembly model will be a key learning tool for our engineering students in the areas of fission, reactor materials and fluid flow within the core,” said Bill Goodwin, program director. “We are extremely grateful for AREVA and TVA's provision of a model that gives our students a unique view of what occurs inside a reactor.”

In addition to industry basics such as reactor operations and power plant models, students enrolled in the program explore the challenges of nuclear power generation, including safety issues, engineering and construction practices and systems operation and maintenance.

“AREVA and TVA are helping to elevate our nuclear power generation systems minor to the next level,” said Christopher B. Roberts, dean of engineering. “This fuel assembly model will play a key role in our students’ hands-on lab experiences, and will ultimately benefit the next generation of nuclear power operators in the U.S.”

AREVA is a clean energy company that provides its customers with solutions for low-carbon power generation in North America and all over the world. With nearly 5,000 employees, AREVA North America is the leading nuclear energy supplier in the U.S., and has a presence in the Canadian market as well. It is the only company with expertise in all phases of nuclear power generation, from uranium mining and reactor construction to fuel fabrication and recycling used fuel, and is a growing player in the renewable energy market. AREVA Inc. is headquartered in Charlotte, N.C.

The Tennessee Valley Authority, a sponsor of the Nuclear Power Generation Systems Program, is a corporate agency of the United States that provides electricity for business customers and local power distributors serving 9 million people in parts of seven southeastern states. TVA receives no taxpayer funding, deriving virtually all of its revenues from sales of electricity. In addition to operating and investing its revenues in its electric system, TVA provides flood control, navigation and land management for the Tennessee River system and assists local power companies and state and local governments with economic development and job creation.