Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom’s fuel company TVEL has signed the first contract on testing of its TVS-Kvadrat nuclear fuel with a US nuclear power plant operator, Rosatom said in a release on 19 July. TVS-Kvadrat fuel has been specially developed by TVEL for use in Western design pressurised water reactors (PWRs).
A consortium to promote the fuel in Western markets was formed in May between TVEL, GE- Hitachi (GEH) and Global Nuclear Fuel-Americas (GNF-A). TVEL Vice President Oleg Grigoryev said at that time that the first Russian TVS-K test nuclear fuel assemblies would be loaded into US reactors in 2018. To date, Russia accounts for 17% of the world’s fuel market for NPPs and fully meets the fuel needs of 76 power reactors in Russia and 14 other countries, including Finland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Ukraine, Armenia and China. TVEL’s annual exports exceed $1bn.
The contract signature was followed by a meeting on 18 July attended by Rosatom Director General Sergey Kirienko, Rosatom Deputy Director for Development and International Business Kirill Komarov, TVEL President Yury Olenin, GEH President and CEO Jay Thomas Wileman and GNF-A CEO for production Amir Vexler. Discussions included development of nuclear cooperation and the supply of Russian nuclear fuel to Western design PWRs. Joint work by TVEL and the GNF-A was discussed for licensing TVS-Kvadrat, as well as obtaining the necessary authorizations from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).
As part of a consortium of GNF-A will provide project management in the US, will focus on licensing and quality assurance, as well as providing engineering services. TVEL will provide design expertise and technical support, and will undertake fabrication of the first batches of assemblies for pilot production programmes at its facilities. Subsequent assemblies for commercial supply of TVS-Kvadrat in the United States will be produced jointly at GNF-A’s plant in Wilmington (North Carolina).
TVEL in 2015 significantly increased revenue from sales of nuclear fuel and its components for NPPs overseas, according to the company's annual report.
At the end of 2015 consolidated revenues TVEL increased by 37% and totalled RUB189bn ($3bn) compared with RUB138bn a year earlier.