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Russia’s Rosatom develops lower uranium enrichment for Finland’s Loviisa NPP

While Hungary's Paks NPP will enhance economic efficiency by decreasing the amount of fuel bundles loaded in the reactor core, Finland's Loviisa NPP decided to maintain the same number of fuel assemblies, but lower their uranium enrichment level

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Russia’s state atomic corporation Rosatom said on May 24 its TVEL Fuel Company has completed development of the new modification of VVER-440 fuel for Loviisa NPP in Finland.

According to Rosatom, the new modification of VVER-440 fuel bundle with higher uranium load would enhance the efficiency of fuel usage and power plant’s operation in general.

In particular, increasing the mass of uranium in one fuel rod would enable to lower uranium enrichment level without reduction of thermal power generation in the reactor. In turn, a lower uranium enrichment will reduce the cost of the nuclear fuel production chain, as well as facilitate handling irradiated fuel.

“Using the new design of a fuel bundle with increased uranium capacity, we have developed two different solutions of VVER-440 fuel cycle strategy for our customers in Hungary and Finland, considering their individual requirements,”  TVEL Vice President for Research, Development and Quality Alexander Ugryumov said. “While Paks NPP in Hungary will enhance economic efficiency by decreasing the amount of fuel bundles loaded in the reactor core, the team of Loviisa NPP decided to maintain the same number of fuel assemblies, but lower their uranium enrichment level. In both cases, our engineering projects would make power plant operation in Finland and Hungary more efficient,” he added.

The project of developing and validating the new fuel has been accomplished with contribution from a number of Russian nuclear industry enterprises, such as OKB Gidropress (an enterprise of Rosatom machine-building division Atomenergomash), Bochvar Institute (material science research facility of TVEL Fuel Company), Elemash Machine-building plant and Kurchatov Institute national research center.

The new fuel passed a range of hydraulic, longevity and vibration tests at the OKB Gidropress research and experiment facility site Loviisa NPP with 1014 MWe total capacity includes two VVER-440 power units commissioned in 1977-1980. In 2020, the power plant generated 7.8 billion kWh of electricity, over 10% of the total power generation in Finland, Rosatom said.

Loviisa NPP has 87.7% installed capacity utilization rate, indicating it as one of the most efficient light-water reactors power plants in the world. The plant is located on Hastholmen island, adjacent to the southern coast of Finland, 15 km from Loviisa coastal town.

 

 

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Co-founder / Director of Energy & Climate Policy and Security at NE Global Media

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