Rosatom’s fuel company TVEL has supplied India with the first batches of more reliable and cost-efficient TVS-2M nuclear fuel for units 1&2 of the Kudankulam NPP. After the next refuelling, the VVER-1000 reactor at unit 1 will begin operating on a 18-month fuel cycle.

“Thus, TVEL has fulfilled the agreement with Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) on implementation of a comprehensive engineering project, including introduction of TVS-2M nuclear fuel to prolong the fuel cycle from 12 to 18 months for both VVER-1000 reactors,” the company stated.

Compared with the current UTVS fuel previously supplied to Kudankulam, the TVS-2M assemblies have a number of advantages which improves reliability and cost-effectiveness. Firstly, the rigidity of a fuel assembly makes it more efficient and more vibration-resistant. Secondly, the new fuel has increased uranium capacity – one TVS-2M assembly contains 7.6% more fuel material. In addition, the special feature of the Kudankulam fuel in particular is the new generation anti-debris filter protecting bundles from debris damage, which may be caused by small-sized objects in the reactor core.

“Operation in longer fuel cycles also enhances economic efficiency of a plant, as reactors have to undergo stoppage and refuelling less frequently, so the power units produce more electricity,” Rosatom said. As a result, the power plant needs to purchase less fresh fuel resulting in savings.

“We offer to our foreign clients the solutions which have proved successful performance at the Russian nuclear power plants. TVS-2M fuel is efficiently operated in 18-months fuel cycle at Rostov NPP and Balakovo NPP in Russia, as well as Tianwan NPP in China,” said Alexander Ugryumov, Senior Vice President for Research and Development at TVEL. “Fuel bundles with the ADF-2 anti-debris filter have already showed good results at Rostov NPP. Besides, all VVER-1000 reactors in Russia operate at higher capacity – 104% of the nominal, and is also of interest to NPP operators abroad.”

The Kudankulam NPP in the state of Tamil Nadu in southern India involves the construction of six units with VVER-1000 reactors with an installed capacity of 6000MWe. The first stage (units 1&2) was put into operation in 2013 and 2017. Units 3-6 are under construction.

Image: Kudankulam NPP (Courtesy: TVEL)