TVEL launches facility to make TVS-K fuel for pressurised water reactors

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Russian state atomic energy corporation Rosatom’s fuel arm, TVEL Fuel Company (TVEL), has launched the new fabrication facility for manufacturing the TVS-Kvadrat (TVS-K) nuclear fuel for pressurised water reactors (PWRs) at the Novosibirsk Chemical Concentrates Plant located in Siberia.    

A Rosatom statement earlier this week said the new facility will enable TVEL to supply various modifications of its TVS-K fuel to nuclear power plants (NPPs) around the world that are powered by PWR reactors. 

“Taking into account the long-time experience in development of nuclear fuel fabrication in Russia, this project has been accomplished using the most advanced up-to-date equipment and technologies with wide application of digital solutions”, the statement said.  

The TVS-K draws on TVEL’s experience in the development, manufacture and operation of nuclear fuel for Russian-designed VVER-1000 reactors of the kind being installed at the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP) in India’s Tamil Nadu state, units 1 and 2 of which, having 1,000 MW generation capacity each, are already connected to the grid. Construction is underway of 4 additional units of 1,000 MW capacity each.   

“The referent operation experience, as well the post-irradiation studies confirm the designed properties of the Russian PWR fuel. TVS-K introduction to the global market will enable diversification of PWR fuel supplies not only by supplier, but also by technology. The Russian fuel has an original genesis, including construction materials, the approach to fuel matrix manufacturing, etc. TVS-K fuel is based on Russian technical solutions, which are not subject to export control restrictions of other countries”, said TVEL Fuel Company President, Natalia Nikipelova. 

The TVS-K fuel has been developed by TVEL, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, for Western-designed PWRs. In 2016, the company signed a contract with Swedish utility Vattenfall to supply TVS-K fuel for the Ringhals NPP. In 2020, an experimental batch of TVS-K completed its operation cycle in the PWR-900 reactor at unit 3 of  Ringhals. The irradiated fuel was sent to the Studsvik Science Centre in Sweden for post-irradiation studies, the main phase of which was completed in October 2021. 

According to the company, every sixth power reactor in the world is powered by TVEL fuel. TVEL provides fuel to a total of 75 power reactors in 15 countries, research reactors in nine countries, as well as to the transport reactors of the Russian nuclear fleet.