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Russia supplies new fuel bundle with higher uranium for Kudankulam units

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Chennai, June 10 (IANS) Russian nuclear fuel manufacturer TVEL Fuel Company on Friday said it has supplied the first batches of TVS-2M nuclear fuel to India for the two 1,000 MW VVER reactors in Tamil Nadu’s Kudankulam.

According to the TVEL Fuel Company, a part of Russia’s integrated nuclear power company Rosatom, after the nearest refueling, the Unit 1 at Kudankulam will start operations in an 18-months fuel cycle.

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Thus, TVEL has fulfilled the agreement with Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (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, the company said.

India’s atomic power major NPCIL owns the two 1,000 MW nuclear power plants at Kudankulam and is building four more such plants – Units 3, 4, 5, and 6 there.

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According to TVEL Fuel, the new fuel assemblies have several advantages over the earlier ones called the UTVS fuel model.

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 depressurisation), and the additional spacer grid makes fuel assemblies more vibration-resistant.

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Secondly, the new fuel has increased uranium capacity – one TVS-2M assembly contains 7.6 per cent 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 a 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 (NPP). 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,” Alexander Ugryumov, Senior Vice President for Research and Development at TVEL, said.

“Besides, all VVER-1000 reactors in Russia operate at higher capacity, 104 per cent of the nominal, and this experience is also a matter of interest for nuclear power plants operators abroad,” he added.

–IANS

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