VVER-440 fuel fabrication (Credit: Tvel)Russian fuel company TVEL has completed a project to develop and validate nuclear fuel modifications for the VVER-440 reactors in operation at the Paks nuclear power plant in Hungary.

The full package of documents is handed over to the Hungarian customer, MVM Paks Ltd, for further licensing of the new fuel by the national nuclear power regulator, Tvel said.

The first fuel assemblies have also passed acceptance testing at Tvel's Elemash Machine-building plant in Elektrostal, Moscow region.

The new modification of VVER-440 second generation fuel increases the efficiency of fuel usage and advances the economic performance of the power plant operation, Tvel said.  

The engineering contract for development of the new VVER-440 fuel was signed in late 2017. The development and validation work involved a number of Russian enterprises, including OKB Gidropress (a part of Rosatom machine-building division Atomenergomash), Bochvar Institute (material science research facility of TVEL Fuel Company), Elemash Machine-building plant and Kurchatov Institute national research center. At the site of OKB Gidropress research and experiment facility, the new fuel passed a range of hydraulic, longevity and vibration tests.

The first consignment of the modified fuel will be delivered to Paks nuclear power plant later this year. The four-unit Paks nuclear plant, which entered operation between 1982 and 1987 currently operate on a 15-month fuel cycle and supply around 50% of Hungary's electricity.

Photo: Fabrication of new VVER-440 fuel for Paks nuclear plant (Credit: Tvel)