AFCEN is a French Standard Development Organization which publishes codes for design, construction and in-service inspection rules for Pressurized Water Reactors. The fields covered by theses codes are mechanical components, in-service surveillance of mechanical components, electrical equipments, nuclear fuel, civil works and fire protection. AFCEN was initially founded by electric utility EDF and nuclear steam supply system manufacturer FRAMATOME. AFCEN has more than 60 institutional members, representing more than 650 experts who contribute to the development and continuous improvement of codes.
The RCC-C code, which is dedicated to PWR fuel assemblies and associated core components, set forth generic requirements to be fulfilled by the suppliers and by the manufacturers for the design justifications and for the manufacturing and inspection operations of PWR fuel assemblies and rod cluster control assemblies. The RCC-C is intended to be used in the frame of contractual relations between a customer (nuclear operator) and a nuclear fuel supplier.
The first edition was published in 1981. Over the years, many changes have been made to the original text but the structure hasn’t been much modified. Because of this, the text was becoming less coherent for the users and was lacking also minimal explanations. A redesign of the code was scheduled for the 2015 edition to address those problems. With the involvement of fuel vendors FRAMATOME, WESTINGHOUSE, and French nuclear operator EDF, the text was restructured and clarified. New requirements were implemented and the set of both design and manufacturing rules was strengthened to reflect fuel vendors’ practices and operator expectations.
This article explains the main modifications that were implemented since the 2015 edition, and also outlines the prospects for future changes taking into account the latest regulatory requirements and evolutions of the industrial practices.