Fuel Company of Rosatom TVEL and Global Nuclear Fuel-Americas (GNF-A, a subsidiary of GE Hitachi) signed an agreement to work together toward the licensing, marketing and fabrication of fuel for U.S. customers operating Pressurized Water Reactors (PWRs). Under the agreement, TVEL and GNF-A will form a strategic alliance with the purpose of introducing lead use assemblies (LUAs) of the Russian TVS-K fuel design in the U.S. and seeking licensing approval from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to supply the fuel in reload quantities.
Within the alliance GNF-A will provide U.S.-based project management, licensing, quality assurance and engineering services while TVEL will provide TVS-K design expertise, engineering support and initial fabrication of lead use assemblies. Subsequent FAs are planned to be jointly produced at GNF-A’s Wilmington N.C. facility.
“Being one of the leaders in the world nuclear fuel market, TVEL Fuel Company used its wide range of proven engineering solutions for VVER fuel manufacturing to develop its own fuel design for Pressurized Water Reactors. This fuel is unique as its design and technology ‘genetics’ as well as cladding alloy differ from other alternatives. This will provide additional diversification of fuel supplies to PWRs. We have already introduced our TVS-K fuel in Europe, and the first results leave no room for doubt in its reliability, safety and high economic performance. We are glad to have aligned with such a globally renowned company as GNF-A to promote our fuel in the U.S. market. We feel confident of success of this project that will bring enhanced competition in the U.S. PWR fuel market”, said Oleg Grigoryev, Vice President, TVEL.
“U.S. Pressurized Water Reactor operators are looking for additional competition and choice,” said Lance Hall, Executive Vice President, Nuclear Fuels and Services, GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH). “We are in discussion with several customers regarding lead use assemblies and how this alliance will bring increased choice to the industry.”
The TVS-K is a 17x17-lattice PWR nuclear fuel assembly developed by TVEL for operation in Westinghouse-designed 3- and 4-loop PWRs. There are currently 35 of these reactors operating in the U.S. The TVS-K design is based on a proven track record and many years of experience in development, manufacturing and operation of nuclear fuel in VVER-1000 reactors. TVEL supplies nuclear fuel to 78 power reactors in 14 countries, research reactors in 9 countries and nuclear-powered ships.
The alliance agreement expands on GEH’s recent entry into the PWR services market. Last fall, GEH successfully supported its first PWR services outage, in partnership with Exelon Generation, at the R.E. Ginna Nuclear Power Plant in Ontario, New York. The outage was completed under budget and ahead of schedule with no safety-related or human performance issues.