HYDERABAD: Hyderabad-based Nuclear Fuel Complex (NFC), which supplies fuel to nuclear power plants across India, is gearing up to feed the country’s growing appetite for nuclear fuel, as NFC achieved record levels of production of zirconium sponge and uranium oxide in year 2017-18. Besides it, the NFC is increasing its capacity to produce nuclear fuel indigenously, developing capacity for production of new titanium and nickel-based alloys for use in reactors, scaling up automation at its manufacturing units for higher production efficiency and improving safety and innovating new techniques for improving small but significant processes and manufacturing techniques.
In 2017-18 NFC produced a record 1,330 MT of uranium oxide, which was double the target of 765 MT and also produced 1,500 kg of Zirconium sponge, which is highest in the world. In the same year, NFC produced 1,260 tonnes of nuclear fuel which was, for the first time, produced indigenously from imported raw material. It also set up a manufacturing facility for steam generator sets at a cost of about Rs 1,000 crore.
Speaking to media on the sidelines of NFC Day event held on Friday, NFC chief executive Dinesh Srivastava said, “The Centre has announced establishment of 10 nuclear reactors of 700 MW capacity. For the first time they announced setting up of complete reactors. It is an advantage for suppliers of reactor components as they can plan their production and manufacturing schedules.
NFC has also been tasked with meeting the future demand, for which it has to increase production capacity by at least 150 pc. Apart from the 10 reactors announced afresh, four have already been announced which takes the total number of new plants to 14, with a combined energy production capacity of about 10,000 MW, which will come up during 2021-2030. As of now, we are making the fuel for reactors having capacity of about 2,600MW. That means we will have to increase the production four times. The fuel requirement for the 14 new plants will be 3,000 tonnes,” said Srivastava.
Bhabha Atomic Research Centre director KN Vyas asked NFC to increase the production of super nickel alloy to at least 12,000 tubes. NFC set up one more plant at Pazhayakayal near Thoothikudi in Tamil Nadu and another plant at Kota in Rajasthan as the Hyderabad facility cannot be expanded as it is located in the middle of the city.