Russia has proposed new nuclear fuel cycle technologies and solutions for India’s atomic power plants, with the goal of increasing the efficiency of the reactors at the Kudankulam power project.

Alexander Ugryumov, senior vice-president for research and development at TVEL, the fuel division of Russia’s state-run Rosatom corporation, announced the new technologies at a conference in Hyderabad. According to Rosatom, these solutions have the potential to improve the efficiency of the existing VVER-1000 reactors at Kudankulam as well as those under construction.


At the Kundankulam power project in Tamil Nadu, two 1,000-MW pressurized water reactors designed by Russia are currently operational, and four more reactors are under construction. Despite the uncertainty caused by the Ukraine conflict, Russia has continued to supply critical components for the project.

According to Rosatom, among the new solutions and technologies are new nuclear fuel models, solutions for higher uranium enrichment, and technologies for a closed nuclear fuel cycle. These technologies have the potential to improve the efficiency of the Kudankulam power plant’s operations over the course of several decades.

TVEL began supplying the more advanced TVS-2M fuel to India earlier this year, instead of the UTVS model previously supplied to Kudankulam. The new fuel allows reactors to operate for an additional 18 months before refueling. This is better than the previous fueling cycle of 12 months.

This improves the performance and economic efficiency of the power plant, and Rosatom claims that the TVS-2M model fuel is more reliable.

Nuclear Fuel

According to Ugryumov, the use of nuclear fuel with more than 5% enrichment will allow the VVER-1000 reactors to operate for longer 24-month fuel cycles, resulting in significant economic savings over the unit’s lifecycle. An extended fuel cycle also means that the power plant must stop reactors for refueling less frequently, purchase fewer fresh fuel assemblies, and offload fewer irradiated fuel bundles because handling spent fuel incurs additional costs.

He also emphasized the development of Advanced Technology Fuel (ATF), a safer next-generation fuel. Rosatom is also carrying out the Russian ATF program, which includes developing and testing new fuel materials in a VVER-1000 reactor.

Rosatom is also prepared to provide alternative solutions, such as spent nuclear fuel processing in Russia and the supply of uranium-plutonium fuel for common thermal neutron reactors, particularly light-water installations like the VVER. Rosatom’s fuel division is the world’s largest producer of enriched uranium, and TVEL provides nuclear fuel to 75 power reactors in 15 countries.

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