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Rediff.com  » News » Russia plans to set up N-fuel fabrication plant in India

Russia plans to set up N-fuel fabrication plant in India

April 25, 2010 15:38 IST

The Russian nuclear fuel major TVEL is in discussions with the department of atomic energy to set up a state-of-the-art nuclear fuel fabrication plant to fuel its upcoming and proposed plants in the country.

The Russian government-owned company will be setting up eight to ten plants at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu and Haripur in West Bengal over the next two decades under the Indo-Russian civil nuclear agreement, and the proposed fabrication plant will be supplying fuel to these plants, TVEL executive director for communications and public affairs Ivan Dybov said in Mumbai.

The site for the proposed nuclear fuel fabrication plant will be decided only after the discussions with the DAE are concluded, he added.

TVEL is planning to set up the fabrication plant in the country to bring down cost considerably, Dybov said. The Russian major will be setting up at least 8-10 VVER-1000 type reactors at Kudankulam and Haripur under the bilateral civil nuclear agreement.

"In this regard, Russia has offered a proposal and gave a detailed plan to the government of India last year," Dybov said, adding that the discussions in this regard are on.

TVEL, which holds 17 per cent of the world's nuclear fuel market, already has a contract with the DAE to supply 2000mt fuel to the country's pressurised heavy water reactors over the next five years. The company already supplies to the two units of US-built Tarapur Atomic plant as the US stopped supplying fuel after the Pokhran-I nuke tests.

Two VVER-1000-type power plants of 1,000mw each are under advanced stages of construction at Kudankulam and soon the TVEL-supplied fuel will be loaded as part of their commissioning process, Dybov said.

TVEL is part of the Russian government-owned Rosatom. Although the company has been supplying fuel to India for the last 10 years, this is the first time it has come out to address the media.

Dybov said TVEL has an understanding with the French nuclear major Areva for fuel fabrication and already fabricated 2,000 fuel bundles for them.

Asked whether the proposed fuel fabrication plant will also cater the Areva plants to be built in the near future in the country, he said it could be possible as TVEL is already

fabricating fuel for several Western-type of nuclear reactors of this French major.

Replying to a query on the enrichment plant (as the Russian plant is a light water reactor it requires enriched uranium as fuel unlike the indigenously build pressurised heavy water reactor which requires natural uranium), he said, "Though TVEL is constructing an enrichment plant in China and running four in Russia, we have no plans of it in India."

TVEL enjoys a whopping 45 per cent share of the global uranium enrichment market.

The TVEL official also said, the company was revamped recently and working on cost reduction and high efficiency fuel. TVEL has developed a new and improved type of fuel for the Russian-type reactors, which will enable transition to prolonged fuel cycle along with power increase up to 104 per cent, making the fuelling cost cheaper.

TVEL supplies fuel to 76 reactors in 16 countries and recently signed a contract with Hungary. "We also supply fuel to 30 research reactors in 17 countries and expects to reach a 25 per cent share of global fuel supply market from the current 17 per cent, Dybov informed.