French company Areva has signed a contract to supply fuel assemblies for Vattenfall Nuclear Fuel’s Ringhals 3 and 4 reactors from 2019.

Vattenfall operates a four-unit nuclear power plant at the Ringhals site. Ringhals 1 is a boiling water reactor and has an installed net capacity of 865MW. The remaining pressurised water reactors have an installed net capacity of 865MW (unit 2), 1,064MW (unit 3), and 1,130MW (unit 4).

Under the terms of the agreement, new GAIA fuel design will be delivered by Areva for the reactors, which offer increased operational flexibility.

Vattenfall Nuclear Fuel's managing director Per-Olof Nestenborg said: “Vattenfall perceives GAIA to be a robust fuel design in combination with high-performance well suited for our PWR reactors.

“We will be the first to use GAIA in reload scale, but we have scrutinised the design through our extensive process for qualification for several years. GAIA fulfils all our criteria for a modern PWR fuel design.”

Lead test assemblies of the design have already been operating in Ringhals 3 plant since 2012 and they fully meet Vattenfall’s requirements for safety and fuel quality.

Areva's customers, sales, contracts, and services fuel senior vice-president Klaus Al Usta said: “Our fuel assemblies have been successfully tested in Ringhals during the past years.

“This first contract for reloads shows the confidence of the customer in our product and proves the operational performance of the GAIA design.”

The company will manufacture the fuel assemblies at its Lingen site in Germany.