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First batch of nuclear fuel for BelNPP to be ready by end September

Novosibirsk Chemical Concentrates Plant (NCCP) will produce the first batch of nuclear fuel for the Belarusian nuclear power plant (BelNPP) by the end of September 2018, Deputy Director General, Director for Production at NCCP Dmitry Davydov told the Belarusian media on 6 September, BelTA has learned.

This batch will be delivered for the first power unit. Its production began at the Novosibirsk plant in summer 2018. A total of 163 fuel assemblies will be loaded into the reactor. 17 more will be kept in reserve. Each of these fuel cassettes weighing over 700kg comprises 312 heat-producing elements with zirconium alloy shells. The batch is partially ready and is kept in transport-packing containers.

According to NCCP, the first batch will be delivered to the BelNPP site by the end of this year. Rail transport will be used to deliver the product from Novosibirsk to Ostrovets (it is also possible to use air, sea or road transport for these purposes). Upon the arrival, the customer and the fuel producer company will conduct an entrance inspection to ensure that transportation has not affected the function of the fuel.

Before nuclear fuel is loaded, which is expected to take place next year, fuel assembly simulators will be loaded into the reactor. The so-called simulation zone has already been delivered to the BelNPP. This operation means carrying out hydraulic tests and is vital for checking the operation of various reactor systems.

The Novosibirsk Chemical Concentrates Plant is one of the world's largest producers of nuclear fuel for nuclear power plants and research reactors in Russia and abroad. It is part of the TVEL Fuel Company of Rosatom State Corporation.

The Belarusian nuclear power plant is being built using the Russian standard Generation III+ design AES-2006 near Ostrovets, Grodno Oblast. The first power-generating unit is scheduled for commissioning in 2019, with the second one to go online in 2020. The first delivery of nuclear fuel to the plant is planned for late 2018.