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Russia eyes US nuclear fuel market

Russia`s state-owned nuclear corporation Rosatom reached an agreement with the American counterpart for pilot testing of their new TVS-K nuclear fuel in Western-designed reactors at US-based nuclear power plants.

In May, Rosatom`s TVEL Fuel Company and Global Nuclear Fuel–Americas (GNF-A ), a leading US supplier of fuel for boiling-water reactors, including uranium dioxide and MOX fuel, set up a consortium to promote Russian TVS-K fuel, said a press release.

As a member of the consortium, GNF-A will run the project in the United States, manage licensing and QA processes, and provide engineering services.

TVEL will provide technical support and expertise in TVS-K fuel design, and fabricate the first fuel assemblies to be tested at its facilities. TVS-K assemblies for commercial use in the USA will be jointly manufactured at a GNF-A plant in Wilmington, North Carolina.

In mid-June, Rosatom signed a contract with a US nuclear operator for the pilot use of TVS-K fuel. As agreed between the parties, the operator`s name is not disclosed.

As part of the joint effort to promote TVS-K, top managers of Rosatom and TVEL held a meeting with representatives of GE–Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) and GNF-A.

"We believe in this project," said Sergei Kirienko, CEO of Rosatom. "TVS-K is successfully used at nuclear stations in Western Europe, so we are entering the US market with a solid portfolio in hand. It is important that we are moving beyond words to deeds with GE-Hitachi. We have already signed a contract to supply a pilot lot of fuel to be loaded into a US reactor." According to Sergei Kirienko, Rosatom puts much emphasis on this alliance and will make every step to obtain a license from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

"We are pleased to see the alliance between TVEL and GNF-A move forward as we work jointly on expanding the choice of nuclear fuel for US pressurized water reactors," said Jay Wileman, GEH President and CEO. "This partnership allows our customers access to the depth of technical knowledge, expertise and competencies of the two companies."

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