ROSATOM Develops Fuel Modification with Lower Uranium Enrichment for Finland

TVEL Fuel Company of ROSATOM has completed the development of the new modification of VVER-440 fuel for Loviisa NPP in Finland. The new modification of VVER-440 fuel bundle with higher uranium load would enhance the efficiency of fuel usage and power plant’s operation in general, said TVEL's press service.

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In particular, increasing the mass of uranium in one fuel rod would enable to lower uranium enrichment level without reduction of thermal power generation in the reactor. In turn, a lower uranium enrichment will reduce the cost of the nuclear fuel production chain, as well as facilitate handling irradiated fuel.

“Using the new design of a fuel bundle with increased uranium capacity, we have developed two different solutions of VVER-440 fuel cycle strategy for our customers in Hungary and Finland, considering their individual requirements. While Paks NPP in Hungary will enhance economic efficiency by decreasing the amount of fuel bundles loaded in the reactor core, the team of Loviisa NPP decided to maintain the same number of fuel assemblies, but lower their uranium enrichment level. In both cases, our engineering projects would make power plant operation in Finland and Hungary more efficient”, commented Alexander Ugryumov, Vice President for Research, Development and Quality at TVEL JSC.

The project of developing and validating the new fuel has been accomplished with contribution from a number of Russian nuclear industry enterprises, such as OKB Gidropress (an enterprise 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. The new fuel passed a range of hydraulic, longevity and vibration tests at the OKB Gidropress research and experiment facility site.

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TVEL Fuel Company of ROSATOM (Fuel Division of the ROSATOM State Corporation) includes enterprises for fabrication of nuclear fuel; conversion and enrichment of uranium, production of gas centrifuges. It also includes the research and development organizations. TVEL is the only supplier of nuclear fuel for Russian nuclear power plants; moreover, it supplies, in total, the fuel for 75 power reactors in 15 countries, and for the research reactors in 9 countries of the world, as well as for the fleet reactors of the Russian nuclear fleet. Every sixth power reactor in the world runs on TVEL fuel. The Fuel Division of ROSATOM is the world's largest manufacturer of the enriched uranium. The Fuel Division is actively developing new business lines in chemistry, metallurgy, energy storage technologies, 3D printing, digital products, as well as decommissioning of nuclear facilities. Recently, the TVEL Fuel Company structure was enlarged by the ROSATOM's branch integrators for additive technologies and energy storage systems. 

Loviisa NPP with 1014 MWe total capacity includes two VVER-440 power units commissioned in 1977-1980. In 2020, the power plant generated 7.8 billion kWh of electricity, over 10% of the total power generation in Finland. Loviisa NPP has 87.7% installed capacity utilization rate, indicating it as one of the most efficient light-water reactors power plants in the world. The plant is located on Hastholmen island, adjacent to the southern coast of Finland, 15 km from Loviisa town.

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