Russia’s Siberian Chemical Combine (SCC) is mastering the fabrication of TVS-2M fuel for the VVER-1000 reactor. SCC staff have completed an internship at the Novosibirsk Chemical Concentrates Plant (NCCP) to improve their skills. Both enterprises are part of Rosatom’s TVEL Fuel Company. The main business of SCC is the conversion and enrichment of uranium, while NCCP fabricates nuclear fuel for power and research reactors.

The internship supports implementation of a project to create a pilot production facility for experimental fuel assemblies at SCC based on uranium-plutonium Remix fuel. This facility will be used to fabricate TVS-2M fuel for the VVER-1000 reactor for subsequent trial operation at the Balakovo NPP. In Russia, fuel of this design is currently produced only at NCCP.

The internship programme included the study of technology and equipment for the manufacture of fuel rods and fuel assemblies for VVER-1000, quality control of welded joints, software tuning, analytical support of technological processes. In addition to studying the theory, SCC employees were given 140 hours of practical training under the supervision of experienced NCCP production workers.

“Siberian Chemical Combine as a TVEL competence centre for plutonium handling already has experience in fabricating experimental fuel assemblies with nitride MNUP fuel for fast reactors as part of of the Breakthrough project,” said Alexander Ugryumov, Vice President for Scientific and Technical Activities and Quality at TVEL. “When creating even a small pilot production of fuel for VVER-1000, we must use all the best practices of our fabrication plants, where there is the highest level of production automation and multilevel quality control. For this, it is important to have not only modern equipment and IT solutions, but also a high level of personnel training.”

The fabrication of experimental fuel assemblies with Remix fuel at Rosatom will be carried out in industrial cooperation with the participation of the Mining and Chemical Combine in Zheleznogorsk (Krasnoyarsk Territory), where fuel pellets will be produced from a mixture of uranium and plutonium, as well as at SCC, where a production site for the manufacture of fuel rods and VVER-1000 fuel assemblies is now being established. The project is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2022.