A Russian state-owned company has completed fabrication of the steam generator for the fifth unit of the Kudankulam nuclear power plant, reflecting Russia’s focus on India-related projects amid the turmoil caused by the Ukraine crisis.
Atommash, part of Atomenergomash or the Machine Building Division of Atomenergomash, has completed the welding of the steam generator heads with support components and 11,000 heat exchanger coils, according to a statement from the society.
The Russian side did not let the problems related to the Ukrainian crisis affect the Kudankulam nuclear power plant project, and in June Rosatom delivered the first batch of TVS-2M nuclear fuel to India, which allowed the two operating reactors in Kudankulam to increase their fuel cycle. from 12 months to 18 months.
The steam generator is part of the heat exchange equipment used in a reactor installation and a “first class element of safety”. The equipment is 14 meters long, over four meters in diameter and weighs 350 tons. Each nuclear power plant includes four steam generators.
The automatic welding of the heads of the steam generators is done at temperatures of 120 degrees Celsius to 250 degrees Celsius for seven days. Specialists carry out local heat treatment of the welds and a series of technical inspections, including hydraulic tests and eddy current tests of the heat exchanger tubes.
In July, the LUCH Scientific Production Association, which is also part of the Rosatom State Corporation, signed an agreement to supply advanced thermocouples for four reactors at Kudankulam. The new sensors, designed for thermal control of nuclear power plant equipment, replaced the old ones in the reactor internal control systems of the first two reactors.
JSC ZiO-Podolsk, which is also part of Rosatom’s machine-building division, in June manufactured a heat exchange device for Kudankulam’s fifth reactor.
However, the most significant development in recent months was the delivery in June of the first batch of TVS-2M nuclear fuel for the Kudankulam plant, which is powered by VVER-1000 reactors. This enabled the fulfillment of an agreement with the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) on the implementation of a comprehensive engineering project, including the introduction of TVS-2M nuclear fuel and the extension of the cycle of the fuel from 12 months to 18 months for the two reactors in operation.
Compared to the old model of UTVS fuel, supplied by Russia for the Kudankulam plant, the TVS-2M fuel assemblies have several advantages that make them more reliable and economical.
TVS-2M fuel assemblies are more robust, allowing them to retain their geometry in the reactor core, and their components make them more resistant to vibration. The new fuel assemblies have increased uranium capacity – a TVS-2M assembly contains 7.6% more fuel material than the UTVS fuel model.
Longer fuel cycles improve plant economic efficiency, as reactors must undergo less frequent shutdowns and refueling. The power plant must buy less nuclear fuel and also reduce its expenses to process smaller amounts of spent nuclear fuel.
The first reactor of Kudankulam nuclear power plant, located in Tamil Nadu, has been operating at the design power level of 1,000 MW since February 2016. The second unit was connected to the national power grid on August 29, 2016.
The framework agreement with Rosatom for the construction of the third and fourth units was signed in 2014. In June 2017, the engineering division of Rosatom State Corporation and NPCIL signed an agreement for the construction of the fifth and sixth reactors during the third stage of the project.