TVEL sending secondary neutron sources to Temelin in April

20 February 2015

TVEL, the Russian nuclear fuel manufacturer, plans to export the first batch of nuclear fuel elements with secondary neutron sources to the Temelin nuclear power plant in the Czech Republic in April.

The Temelin site is already home to two Russian-designed VVER-1000 reactors, in operation since 2000 and 2003 respectively. Four earlier VVER models have also been in operation at Dukovany since the mid-1980s. Original plans for two further VVER units to be built at Temelin were put on hold by the Czech government in 1990. The tender process for the new Temelin units was launched in August 2009 and then cancelled in April 2014.

TVEL has been supplying fuel to the Temelin plant since 2009 after winning a tender for the work in 2006. It signed a contract to supply secondary neutron sources last year. TVEL also manufactures fuel for the Czech Republic's four VVER-440 Dukovany nuclear power plant units.

Czech utility CEZ said in October 2009 that it would immediately switch to nuclear fuel supplied by TVEL for its two-unit Temelin plant in 2010, instead of phasing in its use as previously planned. CEZ had already bought fuel from USA-based Westinghouse, which was originally contracted to supply fuel for the two VVER-1000 reactors. In May 2006, CEZ awarded TVEL a ten-year contract for the supply of fuel for the units.

Secondary neutron sourcesĀ are used for the controlled start-up of a reactor after it has been shut down. Originally inert, they become radioactive and neutron-producing only after neutron activation in the reactor. As a result, they tend to be less expensive than primary sources.

CEZ had considered using both types of fuel temporarily at Temelin but decided that option would be far more complicated than simply not using the fuel from Westinghouse, which is majority owned by Toshiba of Japan.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News