Russia delivers more efficient atomic fuel for Kudankulam reactors

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Russia delivers more efficient atomic fuel for Kudankulam reactors

Recently Russia has supplied more efficient nuclear fuel to India for the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP).

Russia has supplied the first shipment of TVS-2M nuclear fuel to the KNPP units. It is a more reliable and cost-effective nuclear fuel.

Russia is building the KNPP under an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) of 1988. Later on in 1998 and 2008, follow-up agreements were also signed.

Nuclear fuel is used to continue the nuclear chain reaction in a nuclear plant. The most common nuclear fuels are: the radioactive metals uranium-235 and plutonium-239.

Benefits of TVS-2M Fuel: Enhances the efficiency of uranium, its anti-debris filter protects the fuel bundle from debris damage etc.

India has drawn up an ambitious three-stage nuclear programme. Presently Phase II (Fast Breeder Reactor) is under implementation.

Three-stage nuclear program

Stage I – Pressurised Heavy Water Reactor

  • Natural uranium is used to fuel pressurized heavy water reactors (PHWRs). Its byproduct is plutonium-239 (Pu-239).
  • Heavy water is used as a moderator and coolant.
  • India has achieved complete self-reliance in this technology and it is in use in the industrial sector.

Stage II – Fast Breeder Reactor

  • The Pu-239 obtained from the first stage is used as the main fuel in the fast breeder reactor.
  • Faster neutrons are used to produce more nuclear fuel than is consumed.
  • It is called FBR because it does not use diluent. It uses liquid sodium as a coolant.
  • Uranium-233 is also produced in this phase.

Stage III – Thorium Based Reactors

  • It is a Thorium based reactor. India’s thorium reserves can be used for refueling. Thorium is converted into uranium (U)-233 within the reactor.
  • U-233 received from the second stage will be used as fuel.

Source – The Hindu

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