TVEL Corporation to increase nuclear fuel production

Publish date: November 10, 2004

The production of the uranium powder would increase in four times after the launch of new line at the Novosibirsk Plant for Chemical Concentrates.

The state Russian Corporation TVEL intends to increase export of the nuclear fuel by intensifying production of the uranium powder. The Novosibirsk Plant for Chemical Concentrates, which is a part of the TVEL, will start construction of the new line, which should increase the plant’s capacity in four times, daily Vedomosti reported.

The TVEL is a state corporation where 100% of its shares belong to the Russian Ministry of Property Relations. TVEL manages the federal shares of the major Russian companies engaged in uranium mining and nuclear fuel reprocessing. The TVEL consists of 11 companies specialising in uranium mining, nuclear fuel production for nuclear plants, navy and research reactors. The Novosibirsk Plant for Chemical Concentrates produces fuel elements, uranium for research reactors and lithium and it is the biggest produces of the fuel for the NPPs. The TVEL controls 89% of the voting shares of the Novosibirsk plant. In 2003 the plant showed $166m sales result and $20m net profit. The Novosibirsk plant used to produce the fuel elements packed with uranium dioxide pellets from Ust-Kamenogorsk, Kazakhstan. The full dependence on one supplier forced the Novosibirsk plant to establish its own production of uranium dioxide pellets and powder.

In 2003 the plant launched the production line with 200 tonne powder and pellets capacity per year what corresponded to 30-40% of the plant’s needs. The TVEL’s president Alexander Nyago said at the opening ceremony of the new production line that the Novosibirsk plant would be more stable by producing all the components independently.

The TVEL Corporation is considering the proposal of the Novosibirsk plant for the construction of the second production line with 600 tonnes annual capacity. Its construction would require about $35m, but could allow increasing profit by $10-11m per year. However, the plant would continue to buy uranium dioxide pellets in Kazakhstan as the TVEL’s plants increase production. The complete production at one place could allow controlling quality better and taking part in the European tenders for nuclear fuel deliveries, Vedomosti reported.