ROSATOM launched endurance tests of generation III nuclear fuel for VVER-440
Endurance tests of WFA3+ fuel assembly (Generation III) for VVER-440 were launched at the site of OKB GIDROPRESS test facility. The activities to be carried out under the current contract between ROSATOM TVEL fuel company and ČEZ a.s. Czech Energy Company involve the development and introduction of the modification at Dukovany NPP.
RK3+ working fuel assembly differs from the fuel for VVER-440 of the previous generations in enhanced design, which allows improving the mechanical and thermal-hydraulic characteristics of the fuel.
“The introduction of RK3 + will create an opportunity for the Units to operate at uprated thermal power and to increase the fuel cycle length at Dukovany NPP, which will enhance the power plant economic efficiency”, said Alexander Ugryumov, Vice President for R&D at TVEL JSC.
The endurance tests started after the successful completion of hydrodynamic tests (flow capacity test) of the mockup in order to determine the pressure loss of the WFA3 + fuel assembly. The endurance tests are carried out on a full-scale research facility for V-440 hot functional test.
The purpose of the tests is to check the mechanical stability of WFA 3+ assembly components under hydrodynamic conditions as close to the full-scale ones as possible.
Dukovany NPP with the installed electrical capacity of 2040 MW comprises four power units with VVER-440 reactors (510 MW each), commissioned in 1985, 1986 (Units 2&3) and 1987. The power plant annually produces about 13 billion kWh of electricity, covering about 20% of the energy consumption in the Czech Republic. Taking into account Temelin NPP (two WWER-1000 Units), ČEZ accounts for 35% of all electricity generated at nuclear power plants in the country and judging by this index the Czech Republic is one of the ten countries in the world with the largest share of nuclear generation in the energy balance. Both Czech nuclear power plants have been operating on Russian nuclear fuel produced by the Machine Building Plant (JSC MSZ, Elektrostal) since their commissioning.