A nuclear fuel assembly includes and upper yoke, a base, an elongated, outer flow channel disposed substantially along the entire length of the fuel assembly and an elongated, internal, central water cross, formed by four, elongated metal angles, that divides the nuclear fuel assembly into four, separate, elongated fuel sections and that provides a centrally disposed path for the flow of subcooled neutron moderator along the length of the fuel assembly. A separate fuel bundle is located in each of the four fuel sections and includes an upper tie plate, a lower tie plate and a plurality of elongated fuel rods disposed therebetween. Preferably, each upper tie plate is formed from a plurality of interconnected thin metal bars and includes an elongated, axially extending pin that is received by the upper yoke of the fuel assembly for restraining lateral motion of the fuel bundle while permitting axial movement of the fuel bundle with respect to the outer flow channel. The outer flow channel is fixedly secured at its opposite longitudinal ends to the upper yoke and to the base to permit the fuel assembly to be lifted and handled in a vertical position without placing lifting loads or stresses on the fuel rods. The yoke, removably attached at the upper end of the fuel assembly to four structural ribs secured to the inner walls of the outer flow channel, includes, as integrally formed components, a lifting bail or handle, laterally extending bumpers, a mounting post for a spring assembly, four elongated apertures for receiving with a slip fit the axially extending pins mounted on the upper tie plates and slots for receiving the structural ribs secured to the outer flow channel. Locking pins securely attach the yoke to the structural ribs enabling the fuel assembly to be lifted as an entity.