Global Nuclear Fuel, a joint venture of GE, Toshiba and Hitachi, has won a new fuel supply contract from Energy Northwest to continue providing reloads of its high-performance GNF2 fuel for the utility company’s nuclear reactor near Richland, Washington.
The contract, worth about $90 million, was announced Wednesday by GNF, a unit of GE's operations in Castle Hayne. The contract period for fuel and services at the Columbia Generating Station runs from 2019 through 2027 and includes five reloads for the 1,190 megawatt boiling water reactor, according to a news release.
“GNF has fueled Columbia since 2009 and this contract means that we’ll continue to help Energy Northwest meet its performance goals with our industry-leading fuel products,” Lance Hall, executive vice president, nuclear fuels and services for GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy, said in the release.
GNF has produced nuclear fuel, along with the fuel rod assemblies in which it is contained, at its Castle Hayne site since 1969, according to company spokesman Jonathan Allen. Although it has been a GNF customer for the past six years, the Columbia nuclear power reactor changed over to the GNF2 fuel assemblies in 2015.
“The GNF2 high performance fuel assembly is designed to deliver increased energy output while decreasing overall fuel cycle costs,” the release stated, adding that the assembly’s design saves utilities money because it uses less uranium and reduces the average enrichments in fuel reloads.
In June, GNF unveiled its newest fuel assembly, the GNF3, which Allen said will be available to customers for full reloads beginning in 2018.
GE retains majority ownership in GNF, which operates primarily through its GNF-Americas facility in Castle Hayne and GNF-Japan Co. Ltd. in Kurihama, Japan.