TVEL Fuel Company of ROSATOM has supplied the first batches of TVS-2M nuclear fuel to India for the two functioning units-1&2 of Kudankulam NPP, powered by VVER-1000 reactors. After refueling in July 2022, the Unit 1 will start its operation in 18-months fuel cycle from currently used UTVS fuel with 12 month operating cycles. With this TVEL will be fulfilling the agreement with Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) / Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) on implementation of TVS-2M nuclear fuel with 18 month operating cycles for KKNPP.
Compared to the UTVS fuel model, which was supplied to Kudankulam NPP previously, TVS-2M fuel assemblies have a number of advantages making them more reliable and cost-efficient. First, it is the rigidity of a bundle: because of the welded frame, the fuel assemblies in the reactor core retain their geometry, the spacer grids protect fuel rod cladding from fretting wear (preventing from depressurization), and the additional spacer grid makes fuel assemblies more vibration-resistant. Secondly, the new fuel has increased uranium capacity - one TVS-2M assembly contains 7.6% more fuel material as compared to UTVS. Besides, the special feature of the Kudankulam fuel in particular is the new generation anti-debris filter ADF-2, efficiently protecting fuel assemblies.
Operation in longer fuel cycles also enhances economic efficiency of a plant, as reactors have to undergo stoppage and refueling less frequently, so the power units produce more electricity. Besides, the power plant needs to purchase less fresh fuel, and as the result, has to deal with smaller amounts of spent nuclear fuel, which also requires expenses.
“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-monthes fuel cycle at Rostov NPP and Balakovo NPP in Russia, as well as Tianwan NPP in China. Fuel bundles with ADF-2 anti-debris filter have also showed good results at Rostov NPP. Besides, all VVER-1000 reactors in Russia operate at higher capacity, 104% of the nominal, and this experience is also a matter of interest of nuclear power plants operators abroad”, Alexander Ugryumov, Senior Vice President for Research and Development at TVEL, commented.
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Kudankulam NPP in Tamil Nadu state in southern India involves the construction of 6 power units with VVER-1000 reactors with an installed capacity of 6000 MW. The first stage, consisting of power units No. 1 and No. 2, was commissioned in 2013 and 2017, respectively. Power units No. 3,4 and No. 5,6 are the second and third stages of the Kudankulam NPP. Currently, power units 3,4,5,6 are under construction.