Russia plans to set up a state-of-the-art nuclear fuel fabrication plant to cater to all its power plants. It is expected to come up at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu or Haripur in West Bengal.
The Russian fuel major TVEL Corporation, which holds 17 per cent of the global nuclear fuel market, said in Mumbai on Friday that it plans to set up a nuclear fuel fabrication plant in the country in collaboration with the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE).
Since there will be at least 8-10 Russian-made power plants in the country in the near future, the joint fuel fabrication of the enriched uranium will be available at a cheaper rate for India, TVEL Corporation Executive Director for Communications and Public Affairs Ivan Dybov said.
"In this regard, Russia offered a proposal and gave a plan proposal to the Indian government last year," Dybov said adding discussion in this regard is on.
TVEL is part of the state-owned Rosatom and signed a contract with the DAE to supply 2,000mt uranium over a period of five years. It also supplied, for the fifth time, uranium separately for the General Electric-built Tarapur units I&II. This is the first time the company has come out openly to address the media.
Dybov said TVEL has an understanding with the French nuclear major Areva for fabrication of fuel and already fabricated 2,000 fuel bundles for them.
Asked whether the proposed Russian fuel fabrication plant will also cater the Areva’s power plants to be built in the country in the near future, he said it could be possible as TVEL is already fabricating fuel for several Western type of nuclear reactors.
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 indigenous pressurised heavy water reactor which requires natural uranium), he said "TVEL is constructing an enrichment plant in China and there are four plants in Russia, but we have no plans of it in India."
TVEL holds 45 per cent share of the uranium enrichment in the world market.
The TVEL official also said, the company was recast recently and working on cost reduction and high efficiency fuel. The company 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 and an increased burn up of 5,00,000 MW-days per tonne 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 fuel supply in the global market from the current 17 per cent, Dybov added.