The Tianwan nuclear station in China, which uses Russian-designed TVS-2M fuel assemblies. Photo courtesy Rosatom. Russian nuclear fuel company Tvel has supplied China with equipment for the fabrication of VVER nuclear fuel at China National Nuclear Corporation’s Yibin plant in Sichuan province.

The consignment includes equipment for the production of fuel rods, in particular, a welding complex, a rod geometry control system and VVER fuel rod lacquering equipment.

Tvel said CNNC has bought the equipment for the modernisation of a facility for the fabrication of Russian-designed TVS-2M fuel assemblies for VVER-1000 nuclear power plants.

There are four such power plants in operation in China, all at the Tianwan nuclear power station in Jiangsu province in the east of the country.

The Yibin plant started fabrication of VVER-1000 fuel under licence from Tvel in 2009. Since 2014, it has been manufacturing TVS-2M fuel assemblies instead of the earlier UTVS assemblies.

According to the US-based Nuclear Threat Initiative, China constructed the Yibin nuclear fuel plant in the 1960s and used it to produce and process plutonium for nuclear weapons. In 1982 CNNC set up a pressurised water reactor fuel fabrication plant at Yibin.

Oleg Grigoriyev, senior vice-president for commerce and international business at Tvel, said production of TVS-2M fuel had been localised in China with technological support from Russia.

Tvel, a subsidiary of Russia’s state nuclear corporation Rosatom, provides nuclear fuel for 76 power reactors in 15 countries.

Date: Thursday, 25 July 2019
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