Nuclear fuel producer gets nervous

Publish date: June 23, 2000

Written by: Igor Kudrik

The Russian nuclear enterprises believe that E.U. antimonopoly sanctions for nuclear fuel producers are provoked by competitors.

The European Union demanded that all E.U. countries find alternative supplier for nuclear fuel. The Russian Ministry for Atomic Energy (Minatom) called this demand an effort to force out non-E.U. countries from the nuclear fuel market. Now the countries traditionally buying Russian nuclear fuel – Finland (Lovisa NPP), Hungary (Paksh NPP), Czech Republic, and Ukraine – are planning to buy fuel from different companies.

One of the Russian producers in danger is the stock company Machinery Plant (Mashinostroitelny Zavod). The current year will be hard for the company in spite of their victorious report published in Minatom’s newspaper Atom-Press.

The Machinery Plant final results for 1999

Machinery Plant from Elektrostal provides nuclear fuel to all Russian nuclear power plants equipped with VVER-440, RBMK, BN, EGP and some VVER-1000 reactors. Fuel assemblies of this plant are used in the nuclear power plants of Armenia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Germany, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Slovakia, Ukraine, Finland, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Sweden. The contract has been signed for delivery of fuel to China for the first fast neutron reactor “CEFR”. Delivery of fuel pellets to India is planned as well.

In 1999, the plant developed the production of uranium dioxide, fuel pellets, fuel assemblies up to 1,000 tons per year. The enterprise began to produce improved fuel of ‘U’ type. In the current year after installing five additional facilities for powder sifting and special technology of raw material preparation, the plant will be able to supply all the customers with ‘U’ type fuel.

After these numerous innovations the news from the European Union distorted the whole well-being future looming for the plant. The plant has big hopes for the new strategy of nuclear energy development in Russia, which stipulates construction of 23 reactors, the director of the plant said.

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