Progress at India’s Kudankulam NPP: new fuel discussed

23 June 2016

Russia's Izhorskiye Zavody, part of the Group OMZ, has signed the contract for manufacture of equipment for unit 4 of the Kudankulam NPP in India, OMZ said on June 20. This includes a VVER-1000 reactor pressure vessel and internals, upper unit, support and thrust rings, main sealing parts, as well as witness specimens.

Currently Izhorskiye Zavody is manufacturing equipment for unit 3 of Kudankulam under a contract signed in August 2015. Earlier, in 2008, the company supplied equipment for Kudankulam units 1 and 2. The first 1,000MWe VVER at Kudankulam is now operating at full capacity. Fuel has been loaded into unit 2, which is expected to start generating power by mid-July. Ground breaking for the third and fourth units took place earlier this year.

Meanwhile, Russia has offered a new type of fuel assembly for the Kudankulam reactors, which will increase the period between replacements by 10 months and save millions of dollars in downtime.

The present fuel assemblies used at Kudankulam need replacement after around eight months. The new assemblies will need replacing only after some 18 months, according to Oleg Grigoryev, Vice President of Russian fuel company TVEL, part of state nuclear corporation Rosatom. "It saves 60-70 operational days in around three years, and saves $60-70m which would have been lost had the plant not been working," he said.

Kudankulam currently uses UTVS type fuel assemblies that consists of spacer grids floating on the load-bearing skeleton. The new TVS-2M fuel assembly consists of spacer grids welded to guide channels."Negotiations are under way for the TVS-2M fuel assembly for Kudankulam. This is a modern design which is more efficient and contains a higher load of uranium," Grigoryev said. He added that in some four years, both operating reactors will have this new fuel assembly.

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