Experts from Rosatom's fuel company TVEL presented details at an international nuclear fuel conference of Russian-designed TVS-K fuel for Western-design pressurised water reactors (PWRs). Specialists from TVEL at the Water Reactor Fuel Performance Meeting, which incorporated the TopFuel conference, in Xi'an, China, described developments in fuel for Russian-designed VVER reactors and for small modular reactors.

However, detailed reports on the high performance of TVS-K fuel drew most attention. These were based on “full cycle testing in the European PWR-900 reactor followed by post-irradiation studies at an independent research centre". TVEL said the fuel had demonstrated "excellent behaviour under commercial operating conditions".

PWR fuel fabrication began at the Novosibirsk Chemical Combine in 2021 and, according to TVEL, modified versions of the TVS-K fuel are "the only nuclear fuel on the world market that is completely independent of the developers of the original PWR reactor technology".

Ilya Ushmarov, project manager of TVS-K at TVEL, said: "TVS-K fuel provides nuclear power plant operators with unique advantages: increased performance of power units based on proven solutions, increased operational safety, and all this together with increased stability of fuel supply chains."

TVEL said the fuel had demonstrated excellent behaviour under commercial operating conditions. These tests also revealed the possibilities for introducing TVS-K with an increased level of uranium enrichment and an integrated burnable absorber, which would increase in the fuel cycle between outages making the operation of NPPs more cost-effective.

Image courtesy of TVEL