Russia has supplied India with a new model of nuclear fuel which has a six-month longer fuel cycle.
Russia’s TVEL Fuel Company recently delivered the first batches of TVS-2M nuclear fuel to India for the two functioning units-1 and 2 of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant. These units are powered by Russian VVER-1000 reactors.
TVEL Fuel Company is the Fuel division of the State Corporation Rosatom of Russia which will also supply fuel for both the units of Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant.
The new fuel model has an 18-months fuel cycle while the currently used UTVS fuel has a fuel cycle of 12 months operating cycles, said a press release.
Compared to the UTVS fuel model, which was supplied to Kudankulam NPP previously, TVS-2M fuel assemblies have a number of advantages making them more reliable and cost-efficient.
Firstly, it is the rigidity of a bundle: because of 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 depressurization), and the additional spacer grid makes fuel assemblies more vibration-resistant.
Secondly, the new fuel has increased uranium capacity – one TVS-2M assembly contains 7.6 percent more fuel material as compared to UTVS.
Besides, the special feature of the Kudankulam fuel in particular is the new generation anti-debris filter ADF-2, which efficiently protects fuel assemblies.
Operation in longer fuel cycles also enhances the economic efficiency of a plant, as reactors have to undergo stoppage and refueling less frequently, so the power units produce more electricity.
Besides, the power plant needs to purchase less fresh fuel, and as the result, has to deal with smaller amounts of spent nuclear fuel, which also requires expenses.
“We offer to our foreign clients the solutions which have proved successful performance at the Russian nuclear power plants. TVS-2M fuel is efficiently operated in 18-months fuel cycle at Rostov NPP and Balakovo NPP in Russia, as well as Tianwan NPP in China. Fuel bundles with ADF-2 anti-debris filter have also shown good results at Rostov NPP. Besides, all VVER-1000 reactors in Russia operate at a higher capacity, 104 percent of the nominal, and this experience is also a matter of interest of nuclear power plants operators abroad”, Alexander Ugryumov, senior vice president for Research and Development at TVEL, commented.
Kudanklum NPP in Tamil Nadu state of India 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 are now functioning. Currently, Power units 3,4,5,6 are under construction.