Rosatom supplies new model of nuclear fuel for Kudankulam power plant
Russia’s TVEL Fuel Company of Rosatom has supplied the first batches of TVS-2M nuclear fuel to India for the two functioning units of Kudankulam NPP, powered by VVER-1000 reactors. After the nearest refueling, the power unit 1 will start operations in 18-monthes fuel cycle. Thus, TVEL has fulfilled the agreement with Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) 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 reactors.
According to an official statement, “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. First, 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% 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, protecting bundles from debris damage, which may be caused by small-size intrus objects in the reactor core.”
Operation in longer fuel cycles also enhances 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-monthes 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 showed good results at Rostov NPP. Besides, 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,” said Alexander Ugryumov, Senior Vice President for Research and Development at TVEL.