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TVEL Entering European Fuel Market

Rosatom’s nuclear fuel producer TVEL will supply its first experimental Western-designed nuclear fuel assemblies TVS-K to the Swedish nuclear power plant Ringhals-3 in 2014, and it could start their commercial supplies to the European market in 2018-19, Interfax reported.

TVEL quoted Vattenfall Nuclear Fuel president Per-Olof Nestenborg as saying at a news conference that the contract with TVEL envisions the supply of the fuel assemblies to one pressurized water reactor in 2014 for fuel qualification.

Since such fuel assemblies have never been operated, their testing will continue until the fuel is fully spent, which can take four to five years, quoted Nestenborg as saying.

If the experimental operation of TVS-K proves successful, TVEL could enter the Western-type reactor market, it said. TVEL had reported earlier that it planned commercial supplies of TVS-K in 2015-16.

The TVS-K project is being pursued with the aim of Rosatom’s expansion on the global nuclear fuel market. TVS-K fuel assemblies are intended for use in Western-type water reactors and are square in shape, while Russian VVER-type reactors use hexagonal nuclear fuel assemblies.

The pressurized water-reactor fuel market is currently controlled by France’s Areva and Westinghouse Electric Company, which supply fuel for Ringhals as well.

TVEL currently controls nearly 100 percent of nuclear fuel supplies to VVER reactors. However, Westinghouse entered the Russian-designed reactor market several years ago.

Ringhals operates four reactors built in the 1970s and 1980s with an aggregate power rating of 3,560 megawatts.

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