Russia’s Novosibirsk Chemical Concentrate Plant (part of Rosatom’s Fuel Company TVEL) intends to establish a production facility for the serial production of TVS-Kvadrat fuel for nuclear power plants of western design, Vladimir Rozhdestvensky, adviser to TVEL’s President, said on 9 April.

TVS-Kvadrat (square fuel assembly) fuel development was coordinated by OKBM Afrikantov. Its geometry differs from Russian fuel assemblies, which are hexagonal in cross section. Materials and design were developed by the AA Bochvar Russian Research Institute of Inorganic Materials. The Leipunsky Institute of Physics and Power Engineering in Obninsk and the Kurchatov Institute were also involved, as well as the Novosibirsk Chemical Concentrate Plant and the Chepetsk Mechanical Plant.

TVS-Kvadrat (TVS-K) fuel differs in several ways from Westinghouse or Areva fuel, including structural materials, spacer grids and manufacturing technology. Pyotr Lavrenyuk, a senior vice-president at Tvel, said “We strive to make a fuel that will be trouble-free for the operators in terms of control. We managed to design fuel elements that do not change their geometrical shape after five years in operation in very tough conditions. When designing TVS-K, we relied on our expertise in producing nuclear fuel for VVER reactors. Fuel burnup is another important parameter. We have reached a burnup of 60 MWd/kgU while maintaining safe and reliable operation of the fuel assembly,” he said. The fuel was tested in Sweden and a contract for commercial supplies of TVS-K fuel was signed in 2016 as a ‘deferred decision’ contract, with deliveries to begin in 2021.

Rozhdestvensky said: “In terms of square design, our Novosibirsk enterprise has always been among the leaders. To date, we have developed three modifications of the square design here. This year it is planned to launch serial production.