NFC achieves record fuel production for heavy water reactors

M. Somasekhar Hyderabad | Updated on January 15, 2018

Nuclear Fuel Complex (NFC), the supplier of fuel for powering the country’s nuclear power programme, has set a world record by producing 1,512 tonnes of fuel bundles for the PHWR (Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors) during 2016-17.

The performance betters its earlier production. Hyderabad-based, NFC is the industrial arm of the Department of Atomic Energy to fuel all the operating nuclear reactors generating electricity.

The unique feature of the Complex is its comprehensive nuclear fuel manufacturing cycle - from ore to core, involving processing of both Uranium and Zirconium streams under a single roof. It made a modest beginning with 100 t per year and has augmented its capacity to cater to the fuel requirement of all the operating PHWRs and Boiling Water Reactors (BWRs).

NFC is expanding its facilities to meet the future requirement of 20 units of 700 MWe PHWRs, proposed to be established in a phased manner across the country by the DAE. Towards this, NFC-Kota project with an outlay of Rs 2,400 crore is being executed. Further augmentation of the existing facilities at the Hyderabad campus and the Zirconium Complex, Pazhayakayal, are also under way, according to NFC officials.

The increased production is mainly due to process improvement and automation, besides the efforts of its employees. NFC also achieved the highest production of 1154 t of Zirconium Oxide powder and 759 t of Zirconium Sponge from its production units in Hyderabad and at the Zirconium Complex, Pazhayakayal to meet the Zircaloy requirements of the PHWRs and BWRs.

NFC over the years has mastered the technology of manufacturing seamless tubes and has been meeting critical requirements of the Departments of Atomic Energy, Space and Defence, be it for the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), battle tanks, missiles, supercritical boilers or the BrahMos. Indigenisation of critical and special purpose equipment has also been apart of NFC’s endeavour for promoting 'Make in India'.

Published on April 17, 2017

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