Nuclear Fuel Complex surpasses own record

M Somasekhar Hyderabad | Updated on January 15, 2018

Produces 1512 tonnes of fuel bundles for heavy water reactors during FY17

The Nuclear Fuel Complex (NFC), the supplier of fuel for powering the country’s nuclear power programme, has set a world record by producing 1512 tonnes of fuel bundles for the PHWR (Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors) during 2016-17.

The performance betters its earlier production as well. Hyderabad-based NFC is the industrial arm of the Department of Atomic Energy and fuels 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 all under a single roof. It made a modest beginning with 100 tonnes per year and went on augmenting it’s 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 ₹2,400 crore, is being executed. Further augmentation of the existing facilities at Hyderabad campus and 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 put by its employees. NFC also achieved the highest production of 1154 tonnes of Zirconium Oxide powder and 759 tonnes of Zirconium Sponge from its production units at Hyderabad and at Zirconium Complex, Pazhayakayal to meet the Zircaloy requirements of the PHWRs and BWRs.

Over the years, NFC 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, battle tanks, missiles, supercritical boilers or the BrahMos. Indigenisation of critical and special purpose equipment has also been a part of NFC’s endeavour for promoting ‘Make in India’.

Published on April 17, 2017

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