TIRUNELVELI: TVEL Fuel Company of Rosatom began its supply of the new model of nuclear fuel recently to India to enable Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP) start operations in a longer fuel cycle of up to 18 months, according to a statement issued by Rosatom. It is also more reliable and cost-efficient.
“The company has supplied the first batches of TVS-2M nuclear fuel to India for the two functioning units of KKNPP, powered by VVER-1000 reactors. After the nearest refuelling, Unit 1 of KKNPP will start operations in an 18-month fuel cycle. Thus, TVEL Fuel Company of Rosatom has fulfilled the agreement with Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) on the implementation of a comprehensive engineering project, including the introduction of TVS-2M nuclear fuel and elongation of the fuel cycle from 12 to 18 months for both reactors,” read the 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, and 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 the economic efficiency of a plant, as reactors have to undergo stoppage and refuelling less frequently, so the power units produce more electricity. Besides, the power plant needs to purchase less fresh fuel, and as a result, has to deal with smaller amounts of spent nuclear fuel, which also requires expenses, read the statement. “We offer to our foreign clients the solutions that proved successful at the Russian nuclear power plants. TVS-2M fuel is efficiently operated in an 18-month fuel cycle at Rostov Nuclear Power Plant (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 higher capacity, 104% of the nominal, and this experience is also a matter of interest of nuclear power plant operators abroad”, Alexander Ugryumov, Senior Vice President for Research and Development at TVEL, commented.