India's Nuclear Fuel Complex (NFC) has signed a protocol of acceptance with TVEL for the first 30 tonnes of uranium dioxide pellets to fuel Indian nuclear power reactors.
The protocol for the shipment of the first batch of nuclear fuel pellets to be sent to India was signed after a delegation from NFC visited TVEL's Mashinostroitelny Zavod (Elemash) plant in Elektrostal near Moscow, Russia.
TVEL and India's Department of Atomic Energy signed a long-term fuel pellet supply contract worth over $700 million in February. Under the contract, TVEL will supply uranium dioxide pellets to Nuclear Power Corp of India Ltd (NPCIL) for several years to ensure fuel supply to the Tarapur plant in Maharashtra state. The plant's two small boiling water reactors (BWRs) have had to operate at only 50% power for many months due to India's previous inability to source uranium in world markets. The change of this situation will give a quick 150 MWe boost to Indian power supplies.
TVEL was the first company to have signed such a contract since the lifting of the Nuclear Suppliers Group's (NSG's) restrictions on India in September 2008. The first delivery of pellets to India is scheduled for the spring of 2009.
Igor Petrov, technical director of Elemash, said: "We have done our work well and our partners have accepted our product."
He added, "Under this contract we have applied lots of innovative technologies and solutions such as automatic stacking of pellets after their pressing in molybdenum sintering vessels, automatic visual control and polyethylene packaging. Our Indian partners have highly evaluated our innovations. We believe that these technologies are technologies of the future and we will apply them to other types of pellets."
TVEL is already fabricating and delivering fuel for the first two Russian-built VVER-1000 reactors nearing completion at the Kudankulam nuclear power plant in India's Tamil Nadu state. The first consignment of fuel from Russia for the first unit at Kudankulam was delivered in May 2008. Another two Russian reactors are expected to be agreed for Kudankulam very soon.
In early December 2008, Russia and India signed a civil nuclear cooperation agreement during a visit to India by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. The signing of the agreement meant that commercial contracts could be prepared by Russian and Indian firms. At that time, the $700 million deal for TVEL to supply fuel had already been agreed.