Strategy of nuclear fuel development for VVER NPP

A.V Ugryumov, A.B. Dolgov, A.A. Shishkin, Yu.A. Kukushkin (JSC TVEL)

28th Symposium of AER on VVER Reactor Physics and Reactor Safety (2018, Olomouc, Czechia)
Fuel management issues


The concept of development of the two-component nuclear power industry is approved in Russia. Thermal and fast reactors will work in a single closed nuclear fuel cycle. Issues of raw materials, spent fuel reprocessing, discharge of fission products, discharge of minor actinides and their transmutation will be resolved at the same time.
Short-term strategy includes increasing of capacities on the basis of VVER technology development and adjustment of the technologies necessary for closing nuclear fuel cycle.
The efficiency of a closed nuclear fuel cycle in many respects depends on new approaches to development of the actual nuclear fuel and advancement of fuel cycles VVER.
The main requirements to nuclear fuel of VVER-1000 and VVER-440 are safety, reliabilities, economic efficiency and competitiveness.

The main directions of works are presented in the report to support of the solution of the main task:
1. Guaranteeing of geometrical stability of fuel design.
2. Increasing of the operational life of fuel assembly.
3. Increasing of the operational reliability of fuel assembly.
4. Implementation of safety and economical fuel cycles.

Construction of nuclear fuel for VVER will be improved generally in a part:
- increasing in uranium capacity,
- changes of quantity of spacer grids,
- implementation of new types of mixing grids and antidebris filters,
- fuel elements without fixing in a support grid,
- implementation of new fuel and constructional materials.

New types of nuclear fuel have been developed, implemented and successfully operated on the NPP in recent years:
- for VVER-1000 – TBCA-PLUS and TBC-2M and their modifications;
- for VVER-440 – WA and CFA of the second and third generations.

Technical and economic characteristics of the VVER nuclear fuel correspond to the level of world manufacturers of nuclear fuel for PWR power reactors.

The perspective directions of development are:
- for VVER-1000 – fuel assembly of the 4th generation and fuel assembly without fixing of fuel elements in a support grid;
- for VVER-440 –fuel rod with external diameter of 8,9 mm of second generation and modification of working assembly without shroud of third generation;
- fuel cycles with use of fuel of average enrichment higher than 5%;
- the works on creation of new fuel compositions and improvement of zirconium materials.

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