Nuclear Fuel complex (NFC) has made history in supplying 11,016 fuel rods from the imported natural Uranium to the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) in a record time of six months for three reactors.
NFC has dispatched its latest consignment of fabricated 3,672 fuel rods for the newly constructed 220 MW Rajasthan Atomic Power Station (RAPS) Unit 6 and Nuclear Power Corporation will be loading the fuel in the plant soon, R N Jairaj, Chief Executive of NFC told PTI.
Once the loading is over, the Unit 6, which is also the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards like RAPS units 1, 2 and 5, can be expected to get commissioned by the end of December, he said.
The Hyderabad-based NFC received 300 tonnes of natural Uranium from the French nuclear major AREVA as one time supply.
From Russia, NFC received 120 tonnes as supplementary contract under the umbrella contract of 2,000 tonnes of natural Uranium.
Under the umbrella contract, India will receive 2,000 tonnes in a time frame of five to seven years, he said.
From June to November, NFC has fabricated imported fuel for three reactors at the rate of 3,672 rods each and supplied to RAPS units 2, 5 and 6, Mr. Jairaj said.
“From April to May, the IAEA inspectors were at NFC to make arrangements for taking stock of the imported fuels,” he said.
NFC will also be fabricating fuel rods for replacements of these fuel when required for the operating plants of RAPS.
So far RAPS Units 1, 2, 5 and 6 are put under the umbrella of India specific safeguards agreement of IAEA as per the Separation Plan of the Indo-US deal.
Once RAPS unit 3 and 4 are also placed under the IAEA safeguards next year, the annual recurring replacement of Uranium required is 200 tonnes per year for all the six units of Rajasthan power station, according to a senior official of Nuclear Power Corporation here.
In 2008, NFC was operating below 50 per cent capacity as there was acute shortage of indigenous fuel.
Therefore, NPCIL was running all its 17 plants at 40 to 50 per cent capacity.
NFC, established in the year 1971 is a major industrial unit of Department of Atomic Energy. The complex is responsible for the supply of nuclear fuel bundles and reactor core components for all the nuclear power reactors operating in India. It is a unique facility where natural and enriched uranium fuel, zirconium alloy cladding and reactor core components are manufactured under one roof starting from the raw materials.