Superior Operation Performance

Superior Operation Performance


The ATMEA1 design offers high thermal efficiency and a high availability rate to give operators greater flexibility, while reducing operation and maintenance costs.

High availability factor

The ATMEA1 reactor is expected to achieve 92% availability over the plant life (60 years). Based on European methodology, this assessment represents conservative estimates for planned and forced outages. Short outage time and simplified maintenance is ensured through a range of features, including:

  • On-power maintenance capability
  • Accessible reactor building
  • Layout provisions for maintenance
  • High-speed refueling machine
  • High-capacity coolant purification system

High thermal efficiency for reduced fuel consumption and waste production

A proven steam-generator design enables high thermal efficiency thanks to an axial economizer and the primary loops’ optimal operating parameters. The ATMEA1 design is expected to delivers 37% thermal efficiency – approximately 10% higher than nuclear power plants currently in operation. The result is less fuel consumption and waste for the same amount of energy produced.

Reduced operation and maintenance costs

The ATMEA1 reactor is one of the most competitive medium-power pressurized water reactors (PWR) on the market today. Its operation and maintenance costs are significantly reduced compared to a reactor of its size as a result of the following:

  • High availability: Long fuel cycles and short refueling outages enable a strong availability factor of 92% or more during the plant’s service lifetime. Greater access to the reactor building during operation, larger maintenance areas and on-power maintenance functions contribute to reduced operation and maintenance costs.
  • Low fuel reload costs: High thermal efficiency up to 37% and a heavy neutron reflector that limits neutron escape from the core reduce fuel consumption and fuel-cycle costs.

60-year extended service life

The ATMEA1 reactor’s extended 60-year service life reduces decommissioning burden for a given level of electricity generation. Fully tested and validated, the following components are examples of what has been developed to improve reliability over 60 years:

  • Heavy neutron reflector reduces neutron flux, which causes brittleness of the RPV inner wall.
  • Advanced accumulator provides water following a Loss of Coolant Accident via a passive safety system.
  • Vessel material incorporates improved mechanical characteristics, including brittle fracture resistance.
  • Pressurizer increases time available to counteract any abnormal operating situation thanks to a larger volume.

A range of flexible fuel management options

The ATMEA1 design enables operators to choose the most cost-effective fuel management solution. The reactor can operate with a variety of fuel management options, including:

  • A full uranium core to a mixed core
  • MOX fuel core of 0-100%
  • 12- to 24-month fuel cycles
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