Kudankulam reactors to get 'more reliable and cost-effective' nuclear fuel: Rosatom firm
11 December 2020 | https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/kudankulam-reactors-to-get-more-reliable-and-cost-effective-nuclear-fuel-rosatom-firm/79654589

New Delhi: Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant units 1 and 2 will have a new type of nuclear fuel which is "more reliable and cost-effective" and their fuel cycle will be elongated from 12 to 18 months, TVEL Fuel Company said on Wednesday.

TVEL Fuel Company of Russia's State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom and Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) have signed an agreement to supply the nuclear fuel for the Kudankulam reactors.

Kudankulam 1 and 2 reactors, both of 1,000 MW each, have already been commissioned while units 3-6 are at different stages of construction.

"TVEL Fuel Company of Rosatom and Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) have signed an agreement to supply fuel contract, aimed at the implementation of a comprehensive engineering project, including introduction of the new TVS-2M nuclear fuel and elongation of the fuel cycle from 12 to 18 months for both operating VVER-1000," TVEL said in a statement.

Compared to the UTVS fuel model, which is currently supplied to the Kudankulam plant, TVS-2M fuel assemblies have a number of advantages making them more reliable and cost-effective.

First, it is the rigidity of a bundle because of which the welded frame, the fuel assemblies in the reactor core retain their geometry, the spacer grids protect fuel rod cladding from fretting wear (preventing from de-pressurisation), and the additional spacer grid makes fuel assemblies more vibration-resistant, TVEL said.

Secondly, the new fuel has increased uranium capacity -- one TVS-2M assembly contains 7.6 per cent more fuel material as compared to UTVS.

"Everything that we offer to our Indian partners is focused on obtaining economic benefits from nuclear power units operation. The efficiency is achieved due to the increased uranium content in a fuel bundle, reducing the amount of spent nuclear fuel and increasing duration of the fuel campaign from three to four-and-a-half years," Natalia Nikipelova, President of TVEL, said.

Earlier, TVEL Fuel Company implemented similar projects of replacement UTVS with TVS-2M fuel and an extension of the fuel cycle from 12 to 18 months at Tianwan nuclear power plant in China.

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