Russia supplies upgraded Nuclear Fuel to India’s Kudankulam plant

Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom has supplied the first batch of upgraded nuclear fuel to India for two functioning units of the Tamil Nadu-based Kudankulam nuclear power plant. The new fuel will give a boost to the nuclear power units as it is reliable, cost-efficient, has increased uranium capacity and longer fuel cycle.

“Rosatom’s TVEL fuel company has supplied the first batches of TVS-2M nuclear fuel to India. After refuelling, the power unit-1 will start operations in an 18 months fuel cycle. Thus, TVEL has fulfilled the agreement with Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited on implementation of a comprehensive engineering project, including introduction of TVS-2M nuclear fuel and elongation of the fuel cycle from 12 to 18 months for both VVER-1000 nuclear reactors”, a Rosatom statement said.

Compared to the UTVS fuel model, which was supplied to the Kudankulam plant earlier, TVS-2M fuel assemblies have a number of advantages. Because of the welded frame, fuel assemblies in the reactor core retain their geometry, spacer grids protect fuel rod cladding from fretting wear (preventing depressurisation) and an additional spacer grid makes fuel assemblies more vibration-resistant. The new fuel also has increased uranium capacity — one TVS-2M assembly contains 7.6% more fuel material as compared to UTVS. The special feature of the fuel is the new generation anti-debris filter ADF-2, protecting bundles from debris damage.

“We offer to our foreign clients the solutions which have proved successful at the Russian nuclear power plants. TVS-2M fuel is being efficiently operated in an 18-month fuel cycle at Rostov NPP and Balakovo NPP in Russia, as well as Tianwan NPP in China. All VVER-1000 reactors in Russia operate at higher capacity, 104% of the nominal, and this experience is also a matter of interest of nuclear power plants operators abroad,” Alexander Ugryumov, senior vice-president for R&D at TVEL, said.

The Kudankulam plant involves the construction of 6 power units with VVER-1000 reactors with an installed capacity of 6000 MW. The first stage, consisting of power units No. 1 and No. 2, was commissioned in 2013 and 2017, respectively. Power units No. 3 & 4 and No. 5 & 6 are the second and third stages of the plant. Currently, power units 3, 4, 5 & 6 are under construction.

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