TVEL fuel company on a leadership path

TVEL enterprises have capacities to operate the Russian-designNPPs that are currently under construction in India

TVEL enterprises have capacities to operate the Russian-designNPPs that are currently under construction in India

JSC TVEL plans to become a global nuclear technology leader and intends to actively develop cooperation with Indian partners.
Attitudes towards nuclear power have changed in recent years as concerns over energy security and global warming mount. Concerns about the safety of nuclear power have been overtaken by the worries that carbon emissions will cause irreversible environmental damage on a global scale. Add to that, the fact that experts agree the world will run out of fossil fuels in the next few decades and there is little choice other than nuclear power to replace them.

Russia is already one of the world’s leaders in the peaceful use of atomic power and in the coming years, it intends to develop the national nuclear energy sector, led by the state agency Rosatom. Plans are already on the table to build 26 new nuclear power stations in Russia in the medium term and more will follow. At the same time, Rosatom has been actively offering Russian technology to its partners abroad that has led to a string of contracts last year.

As part of Rosatom’s nuclear sector reform to improve both efficiency and safety, the government has decided to establish a Russian nuclear fuel company based on the joint stock company TVEL that will include enterprises manufacturing gas centrifuges, separation and sublimation complexes and fuel fabrication plants.

TVEL remains state-owned, but since it is in the front line of the Kremlin’s efforts to take Russia’s energy expertise beyond simply digging for oil and gas, the company has been working hard to reduce costs and increase efficiency of the fuel fabrication enterprise through investment and development. Today, the company TVEL has already achieved a high level of production cost-efficiency and world class levels of profitability.

Streamlining costs and raising efficiency have been core parts of the strategy to develop the company’s presence in the international market. One of the key developments has been a programme to improve the effectiveness of the fuel for Russian-designed NPP reactors and increase their power output. The success of the investment and reforms has left the company with strong competitive advantages that has allowed TVEL to win all the open tenders it has competed for so far.

The company has also won long-term contracts to supply fuel to nuclear power plants in Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Finland. In addition, the company supplies nuclear fuel to many Western-design reactors as a part of its cooperation with the leading French energy conglomerate AREVA.

Now, TVEL is getting ready to scale up again as a part of its role as the national nuclear fuel company. The goal is to significantly increase the company’s presence in global nuclear fuel market from the current 17 pc to 25pc by 2025. In addition, TVEL intends to increase the number of customers on the uranium enrichment market.

The Indian market is one of the company’s priorities and Russia already has partnered with India on nuclear programme for several decades. One of the first agreements concluded by India after the waive of the export-control restrictions in atomic energy by the Group of Nuclear Suppliers was the agreement concluded in 2009 with the TVEL on supplies of 2000 tonnes of uranium dioxide fuel pellets for the Rajasthan NPP. Moreover, a single contract for the Tarapur NPP on the supply of pellets with the 235 uranium enrichment upto 2.66 pc amounting 58 tonnes was concluded the same year.

In March 2010, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin visited India where the principle agreements on the cooperation in atomic energy were achieved, in particular a roadmap for the construction of more than 12 nuclear power units based on the Russian technologies. TVEL enterprises have sufficient capacities to operate the Russian-design NPPs during their life cycle that are currently under construction in India.

One of the main objects of the bileteral cooperation in nuclear energy field today is the Kudankulam NPP with two VVER-1000 Units of the total capacity amounting to 2000 MW. In 2008-2009, the company delivered the initial fuel batch and the first reloading nuclear fuel batch to the NPP. Later, the second, third. fourth and fifth batches were made for NPP Units 1 and 2. In 2009, TVEL developed the technical and economic offer for the delivery of the new fuel type based on TVS-2M. The improved assemblies give opportunities to use prolonged fuel cycles, to increase the unit capacity upto 104 pc and to generate additional upto 500 thousand MWh of electricity per year.

India and Russia have also explored the possibility to set up a fuel fabrication enterprise on the territory of India if cost-efficient. In case India considers the construction of such enterprise worthwhile TVEL is prepared to provide state-of-the-art technologies and equipment.

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