TVEL in deal with US’s General Electric and Europe on nuke fuel production deal

Publish date: December 19, 2007

NEW YORK - Russian nuclear fuel monopoly TVEL plans to sign a deal with US company General Electric and an unspecified European firm at the start of 2008 to promote a new nuclear fuel assembly on non-Russia markets, TVEL said in a statement, Russian newswire RIA Novosti reported.

The state-run corporation has developed a new type of fuel assembly- the TVS Kvadrat – for use with reactors typically used in the West. The contracts are slated to be signed in early 2008.

TVEL, which accounts for 17 percent of the global nuclear fuel market, intends to almost double its share by 2030.

The company – which will soon become part of the Russian nuclear behemoth state corporation Atomenergoprom, which will oversee every aspect of the Russian nuclear fuel cycle, including oversight – has developed a new type of fuel assembly, the TVS-Kvadrat, for use in Western-type nuclear reactors.

"We plan to sign an agreement with General Electric to promote our fuel on the U.S. nuclear power plant market," TVEL President Yury Olenin said in a statement.

"We believe the situation is ripe for a major breakthrough on the U.S. market."

General Electric would license the Russian nuclear fuel in exchange for receiving TVEL’s technology, he said

Olenin was also upbeat about prospects for European markets, saying TVEL had received technical documents for fuel licensing from a European company, but did not specify the company’s name.

Olenin expressed optimism about TVEL’s prospects in European markets, saying the company TVEL received technical documents for fuel licensing from a European company, but declined to name the company, RIA Novosti said.

TVEL’s TVS-Kvadrat will undergo pre-reactor testing for three years, which will be followed by another three years of operation tests in a European reactor, which Olenin said had already been selected. The agreement with the European company could be signed in February 2008, Olenin said.

"We plan to attain a 30 percent share of global nuclear supplies, which in effect means leadership," he said.

Olenin said the company was seeking to bring in an additional 5.3 billion roubles ($215 million) with world market innovations and by opening new markets.

TVEL-produced fuel currently runs 73 commercial and 30 research reactors in 13 countries worldwide.