At the Kundankulam power complex in Tamil Nadu, four more 1,000 MW pressurised water reactors of Russian design are now being constructed.
In order to improve the performance of the reactors at the Kudankulam power project, Russia has given new technology and solutions for India’s nuclear fuel cycle.
At a symposium in Hyderabad, Alexander Ugryumov, senior vice-president for research and development at TVEL, the fuel business of Russia’s state-run Rosatom enterprise, introduced the new technology. According to Rosatom, these methods can increase the effectiveness of the VVER-1000 reactors already operating at Kudankulam and those that are being built.
At the Kundankulam power facility in Tamil Nadu, four more 1,000 MW pressurised water reactors of Russian design are being built in addition to the two that are presently in service. Despite the risks caused by the situation in Ukraine, Russia has kept delivering essential parts for the project.
New types of nuclear fuel, techniques for uranium enrichment at greater levels, and methods for a closed nuclear fuel cycle are a few of the novel ideas and innovations, according to Rosatom. Over the course of several decades, these technologies have the potential to increase the efficiency of the operations of the Kudankulam power plant.
Earlier this year, TVEL switched from delivering the UTVS fuel model to Kudankulam to the more modern TVS-2M fuel for India. Reactors may now run for 18 months without needing to be refuelled, compared to the previous fueling cycle of 12 months.
As a result, the power plant operates more effectively and economically, and Rosatom has said that the fuel for the TVS-2M type is more dependable.
According to Ugryumov, the use of nuclear fuel with an enrichment level more than 5% will allow the VVER-1000 reactors to run for longer 24-month fuel cycles and have a major financial influence on the unit’s lifetime. A longer fuel cycle also reduces the frequency of reactor shutdowns for refuelling, the requirement to purchase fewer fresh fuel assemblies, and the need to dump as many bundles of radioactive material because managing spent fuel also incurs costs.
He also emphasised the creation of Advanced Technology Fuel (ATF), a new and safer kind of fuel. Along with developing and testing novel fuel materials in a VVER-1000 reactor, Rosatom is also carrying out the Russian ATF programme.
Rosatom is also prepared to offer other alternatives, including spent nuclear fuel processing in Russia and uranium-plutonium fuel supply for common thermal neutron reactors, particularly light-water installations like VVER.
Rosatom’s fuel business is the largest producer of enriched uranium in the world, and TVEL supplies nuclear fuel to 75 power reactors in 15 nations.