GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy is working to fulfill an order for more than 40 of its ultra control rod blades for the Leibstadt nuclear power plant in Switzerland.

GEH won the contract in August 2014, following a competitive tender issued in March. The GEH ‘Ultra’ Control Rod Blades are due to be installed during summer 2015.

Four of GEH’s ultra control rod blade assemblies were installed in the 1220 MW Leibstadt boiling water reactor during a refuelling outage in August. These ‘lead’ assemblies allowed the performance of the control rods to be verified under operating circumstances, GEH said.

Control rod blades are long, cruciform metal-tube components that contain neutron-absorbing material and are positioned adjacent to nuclear fuel assemblies within the reactor core. Operators remotely adjust the position of these blades to manage core reactivity levels.

GEH designs and builds its control rod blade product line at its headquarters site in Wilmington, North Carolina. The ultra is the next iteration of
GEH’s tube-within-a-tube control rod blade design and offers enhanced performance, reliability and flexiblity.

Photo: Leibstadt nuclear plant