India and Russia hopes to put in place a new contract by the end of this year for supply of nuclear fuel to the non-Russian reactors to boost energy production in South Asia’s biggest country, informed Oleg A Grigoryev, Senior Vice President TVEL, fuel supply wing of Rosatom, Russia’s apex nuclear body.
“Russia has supplied nuclear fuel in the past for India’s CANDU Pressurized Heavy Water Reactor to meet the country’s energy needs. By the end of the year a new contract is likely to be in place for supply of fuel to such Indian reactors under favourable conditions,” Grigoryev told ET on the sidelines of ATOMEXPO, world’s biggest nuclear exposition
It may be recalled that in 2006 Russia supplied 60 tonnes of nuclear fuel for Tarapur Atomic Power Stations. Earlier in 2001 Russia had supplied fuel to the same nuclear complex. US had on both occasions objected to Russian supply of fuel to India. India did not have clean waiver from the Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG) at that time which was later achieved in 2008.
In 2009 a long-term contract for the supply of the fuel pellets for the Indian nuclear power plants was signed between TVEL and Department of Atomic Energy (DAE). The Russian company was the first to sign a long term contract to supply nuclear fuel to India after the NSG removed the restrictions on the supply of uranium, reactors and technology to India.
“Though India is not a member of NSG Russia has found ways to supply nuclear fuel for Indian reactors considering strategic nature of India-Russia ties,” the top TVEL official said amid ongoing NSG plenary in Berne that is discussing among other issues application for new membership including that of India.
TVEL is committed to fuel supply for Kundankulam Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) being built Russia. “There has been no delays in supply of fuel. While some countries had objections to transfer of fuel through their airspace Russia had found ways to send nuclear fuel to India through alternative transportation methods,” recalled Grigoryev. He also informed that Russia is ready to assist India in nuclear waste management in its own territory.
TVEL has signed a contract with DAE in 2015 for supply of enriched uranium fuel pellets to the Nuclear Fuel Centre in Hyderabad, a fuel assembly production site for the Tarapur NPP. TVEL has also offered India new fuel assemblies. Fuel assemblies used in Kudankulam need replacement after around eight months. The new version however will need replacement only after around 18 months.