Indian nuclear reactors
Two Russian-designed 1,000-MW pressure-water reactors are operating within the Kundankulam power plant and four additional reactors are currently being constructed on this site in Tamil Nadu.
Russia has developed innovative solutions and new technologies for reactors that run on nuclear fuel in India’s nuclear power stations that aim to improve the efficiency of the reactors of the Kudankulam power plant.
The innovative technologies were presented in the presence of Alexander Ugryumov, the senior vice-president of technology and research at TVEL, the division for fuel of Russia’s state-owned Rosatom corporation, who was speaking at a seminar in Hyderabad. The new technologies can improve the efficiency of the present VVER-1000 reactors in Kudankulam and the ones currently being built, Rosatom said on Tuesday.
Two 1,000-MW Russian-designed pressurised water reactors are in operation within the Kundankulam power project, and four additional reactors are being constructed at this site in Tamil Nadu. Russia continues to provide vital elements to the project despite the uncertainties caused by the war in Ukraine.
Rosatom said that one of the latest technologies and solutions are the new designs for nuclear fuel, options for higher enrichment of uranium, and technology for a closed reactor. These new technologies could improve the Kudankulam power facility more efficiently over several decades.
This calendar year, TVEL began providing more sophisticated TVS-2M fuel for India instead of the UTVS model previously available to Kudankulam. The new fuel permits reactors to run for 18 months before needing to be refuelled, whereas the previous fuelling cycle was for 12 months.
This improves the power plant’s performance as well as economic efficiency. Rosatom has stated that the TVS-2M fuel is more reliable.
Ugryumov claimed that introducing nuclear fuel greater than 5 per cent enrichment would allow the VVER-1000 reactors to run for longer fuel cycles of 24 months and would have a significant economic impact on the unit’s life. A longer fuel cycle means that the power plant has to stop its reactors to refuel less often, acquire smaller quantities of fresh fuel assemblies and take off less irradiated fuel bundles, as the disposal of the spent fuel is also a cost.
He also highlighted the creation of Advanced Technology Fuel (ATF), a new type of more secure fuel. Rosatom is also working on the Russian ATF program, which includes developing and testing novel fuel components in a VVER 1000 reactor.
Rosatom can also provide additional solutions, such as processing used nuclear fuels in Russia and supplying uranium-plutonium fuel for thermal neutron reactors, notably light-water installations like VVER.
TVEL offers nuclear fuel for 75 power reactors across 15 countries. The Rosatom Fuel division has the largest producer of enriched uranium.