TVEL signs billion-dollar Tianwan fuel contract

22 October 2013

Russian nuclear fuel manufacturer TVEL has signed a long-term contract to supply fuel for the second stage of China's Tianwan nuclear power plant, plus equipment to enable China's Yibin fabrication plant to manufacture fuel for Tianwan in future.

Tianwan fuel contract (CNNC)_460
Senior representatives from Russian and Chinese companies witness the contract sgning (Image: China National Nuclear Corporation)

The contract, signed by TVEL, the Jiangsu Nuclear Power Corporation (JNPC) and the China Nuclear Energy Industry Corporation (CNEIC) at a ceremony in Beijing, is the culmination of negotiations that began in February 2012, according to CNEIC.

According to TVEL, the contract covers scheduled deliveries of TVS-2M fuel for Tianwan units 3 and 4 until 2025, and is worth over $1 billion. It includes first cores for both units and six complete refuelling sets for Tianwan 3. TVEL is also to supply accessories for the fabrication of fuel for all four units at Tianwan to the Yibin plant.

TVEL's TVS-2M fuel offers the possibility of an extended 18-month operating cycle and is currently used in Russia's Balakovo and Rostov power plants. Chinese regulators recently licensed the modified TVS-2M design, following completion of pilot operations using six TVS-2M assemblies at Tianwan 1. Following the successful conclusion of the pilot study, Tianwan 1 and 2 are due to be converted to 18-month operating cycles from 2014. Units 3 and 4 are to run on the fuel from their first core loadings onwards.

The latest contract follows a 2010 deal covering the supply of reloads for Tianwan 1 and 2, and the sale of production technology for TVS-2M fuel to enable China's Yibin fabrication plant to produce the fuel. Yibin has been producing VVER fuel for Tianwan since 2009, using technology transferred from TVEL.

Construction is currently under way on Tianwan 3 and 4, with the two Russian-designed VVER-1000 pressurised water reactors scheduled to enter service in 2017 and 2018. They will join the two VVER-1000s making up phase 1 of the power plant in Jiangsu province, which have been in operation since 2007.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News