Elemash Machine-building plant (an enterprise of ROSATOM’s TVEL Fuel Company in Elektrostal, Moscow region) has launched a production site for fuel fabrication for the CFR-600 reactor, China’s flagship project in the field of fast neutron reactors.
The enterprise has modernized the whole shop-floor for fast reactors, which involved development and installation of unique equipment. The “dummy” fuel bundles for CFR-600 are already manufactured for testing.
The new production site was established for fulfillment of the contract between TVEL and the Chinese company CNLY (a subsidiary of CNNC Corporation) for supply of uranium fuel for the CFR-600 reactor, including start-up loading, as well as refueling for the first seven years of the power unit operation. The start of the CFR-600 fuel supplies to China is scheduled for 2023.
“Russian nuclear industry has a unique forty years long experience in fast reactors operation and production of fuel for such installations. The Fuel Division of ROSATOM fully accomplishes its obligations within the Russian-Chinese cooperation in development of fast reactor technologies. These are unique projects when foreign design fuel is produced in Russia. Since 2010, the first Chinese fast breeder reactor CEFR has been operating on fuel manufactured at Elemash plant, and to provide the supply of the CFR-600 fuel, a team of the Elemash and TVEL specialists has successfully completed a complex high-tech project to modernize the fabrication facility”, Natalia Nikipelova, President of TVEL JSC, has commented.
The new equipment will be also used to produce fuel for both Chinese CFR-600 and CEFR fast reactors, as well as for the Russian BN-600 reactor of the Beloyarsk NPP. In the near future, production of the standard BN-600 will start on the new shop-floor.
The CFR-600 fuel contract was signed in compliance of the agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the People’s Republic of China on the joint construction and operation of the demonstration fast reactor in China. It is a part of a large-scale program of bilateral cooperation in nuclear industry for the decades ahead. In particular, the agreement covers construction of innovative power units of the Russian design (generation III +) with VVER-1200 reactors at two sites in China - Tianwan NPP and Xudabao NPP. The package of intergovernmental documents and framework contracts for these projects was signed in 2018, during the visit of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin to Beijing and meeting with President of China Xi Jinping.