GNF's 7th Symposium

There are more nuclear engineers than usual in Wilmington, North Carolina this week. Some 30 from around the world are attending Global Nuclear Fuel's seventh annual Nuclear Energy Fuel Symposium 
Attendees include fuel design, fuel reliability and boiling water reactor engineers employed by nuclear power plant operators in the U.S., Europe and Japan who are in town for two days (Tuesday, Wednesday) of presentations at the Coastline Conference and Event Center.  
Located on Cape Fear, Wilmington is between two employers of nuclear engineers -- Duke Energy's Brunswick Nuclear Power Plant near the mouth of the Cape Fear River and GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy on the Northeast Cape Fear River north of the city. 
“Bringing these fuel engineers and experts together to share operating experience, best practices and lessons learned is a great way to support our customers in delivering clean, safe and reliable nuclear power to millions of homes and business,” said Amir Vexler, Global Nuclear's chief executive 
The symposium includes more than 20 technical presentations on topics that cover recent and upcoming regulatory changes and issues that impact the design and reliability of boiling water reactor fuel and plant operations.  
Global Nuclear is the successor to the GE Nuclear fuel assembly operation that began construction on a former plantation north of Wilmington 50 years ago. That fuels plant, which shipped its first production in 1969, became Global Nuclear Fuels in 2000 when Hitachi, Ltd. and Toshiba Corp. purchased a 40 percent stake. 
GE Nuclear moved its headquarters to the campus in Castle Hayne in 2003 and merged with Hitachi's nuclear operations to form GE Hitachi in 2007. 
Global Nuclear Fuels is now a GE-led joint venture that operates primarily through Global Nuclear Fuel-Americas, LLC in Castle Hayne – which supplies fuel to roughly two-thirds of the 36 boiling water reactors (BWR) in North America -- and Global Nuclear Fuel-Japan Co., Ltd. in Kurihama, Japan, where continued operations of the fuel fabrication plant were approved by Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority in March 
After  inspections to ensure the facility meet the revised safety standards GNF Japan received an Amendment of Business License relating to the revised safety regulations put in place after the 2011 Fukushima incident. 
(Revised 1136 EDT June 7 to correct number of Symposium held to seven from six.)
--Jim Brumm