Global Nuclear Fuel, a joint venture with Hitachi Ltd., and Toshiba Corporation, said Thursday that it would work with TVEL Fuel Company toward licensing, marketing and fabrication of fuel for U.S. power plants operating Pressurized Water Reactors (PWRs).
Under the agreement, Global Nuclear Fuel-Americas (GNF-A) and TVEL will form a strategic alliance with the purpose of introducing lead use assemblies (LUAs) of the Russian TVS-K fuel design in the United States and seeking licensing approval form the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to supply the fuel in reload quantities, the companies said.
TVEL is the nuclear fuel company associated with Rosatom. Within the GNF-A/TVEL alliance, GNF-A will provide U.S.-based project management, licensing, quality assurance and engineering services, while TVEL will provide TVS-K design expertise, engineering support and initial fabrication of lead use assemblies.
Subsequent LUAs are planed to be produced at GNF-A's Wilmington, N.C., facility.
PWR plant operators in the United States are looking for “additional competition and choice,” said Lance Hall, executive vice president Nuclear Fuels and Services, GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH). The company is already in discussion with several of these operators regarding lead use assemblies and how this alliance will bring increased choice to the industry, he said.
The TSV-K is a 17x17-lattice PWR nuclear fuel assembly developed by TVEL for operation in Westinghouse-designed 3- and 4-loop PWRs. Of these types, there are currently 35 reactors operating in the United States. The design, the companies noted, already has a proven track record and many years of experience in development, manufacturing and operation of nuclear fuel in VVER-1000 reactors. Abroad, TVEL supplies nuclear fuel to 78 power plants in 15 countries, as well as research reactors in nine countries and in nuclear powered ships.
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