TVEL wins $1bn nuclear fuel contract for China's Tianwan 3&4

22 October 2013

Russian nuclear fuel company, TVEL, has won a $1 billion contract to supply nuclear fuel for units 3&4 of the Tianwan VVER nuclear power plant in China. It covers the delivery of fresh fuel and accessories until 2025, TVEL said.

TVEL signed the nuclear fuel contract with power plant developer Jiangsu Nuclear Power Corporation (JNPC) and international trading company China Nuclear Energy Industry Corporation (CNEIC) on 19 October.

More specifically, the deal covers the supply of initial core loads for Tianwan units 3&4, as well as six subsequent reloads for Tianwan 3. It also includes the supply of accessories so that China can fabricate TVS-2M fuel assemblies for all four units of the Tianwan NPP at its Yibin Fuel Factory.

China has been fabricating VVER (TVS-2M) nuclear fuel assemblies at Yibin since 2010, and the factory has a capacity of around 200 tU/year for the production of VVER-1000 nuclear fuel.

The modified TVS-2M design, which allows for an 18-month fuel cycle, is currently used at Russia's Balakovo and Rostov nuclear power plants, TVEL said.

The Chinese nuclear regulator, NNSA, issued a licence for the modified TVS-2M nuclear fuel design in September 2013. This licence followed the successful testing of six pilot assemblies in Tianwan unit 1, since 2011.

TVEL said that Tianwan units 1&2 are due to be converted from 12-month to 18-month fuel cycles in 2014.

TVEL also announced that its next delivery of nuclear fuel for the China Experimental Fast Reactor (CEFR) is expected in March 2014, and is valued at $60 million.

Photo: Russian nuclear fuel facility (Source: TVEL)

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