Romania has been producing CANDU (CANadian Deuterium Uranium) type natural uranium for 30 years

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By rbj
SN Nuclearelectrica SA announces that its Subsidiary, Pitești Nuclear Fuel Plant (Pitesti NFP), is celebrating today, February 1, 2022, 30 years of uninterrupted activity.
The production of nuclear fuel based on CANDU (CANadian Deuterium Uranium) type natural uranium started in Romania in 1980, by putting into operation, within the Institute of Nuclear Energy Reactors Pitesti (former IRNE), the pilot station, as a nuclear fuel production section. The first CANDU 6 nuclear fuel bundle, the same type as the one currently being manufactured, was produced in 1983.
In 1994, the Nuclear Fuel Plant (NFP) was licensed by Atomic Energy of Canada Limited – AECL (now CANDU Energy) and Zircatec Precision Industries Inc. (ZPI – now CFM), both from Canada, as a qualified manufacturer and supplier of CANDU 6 nuclear fuel. Pitesti NFP was the second largest nuclear fuel plant in the world, after the Resende-Brazil plant, to receive the SEDO (Safety Evaluation During Operation) Verification Mission from IAEA experts in 2011, a follow-up mission successfully completed in 2015. Pitesti NFP is also the only nuclear fuel plant in Southeast Europe and the only CANDU-type nuclear fuel plant in Europe.
Pitesti NFP has the Quality Management System authorized by CNCAN, it is certified by SRAC for the Environmental Management System according to ISO 14001: 2015 and for the Management System for Health and Safety at Work according to ISO 45001: 2018. In 2020, Pitesti NFP obtained the Certificate of Registration in EMAS (Community Environmental Management System).
Currently, Pitesti NFP has a production capacity of 12,000 fuel bundles/year and annually manufactures approximately 11,000 nuclear fuel bundles, a quantity necessary for the operation of the two units at Cernavoda NPP. The behavior of the nuclear fuel bundles in the Cernavoda NPP reactors is very good, the defect rate being very low, which shows the very good quality of the nuclear fuel bundles.
From the qualification until now, Pitesti NFP has produced over 218,000 of CANDU 6 type nuclear fuel bundles, contributing to the percentage of 20% of the total electricity production of the country. In other words, 1 in 5 light bulbs receives nuclear energy through the nuclear fuel manufactured by FCN Pitesti.
During the life of a CANDU 6 nuclear fuel bundle in the reactor, approximately 1 year, an amount of electricity of 1,115 MWh is generated.
The same amount of energy can be obtained by burning fossil fuels in conventional power plants as follows: – 470,000 kg of conventional fuel with a calorific value of 7,000 Kcal / kg; – 1,110,000 kg of superior coal with a calorific value of 3,200 Kcal / Kg; – 363,000 Nm3 of natural gas with a calorific value of 8,050 Kcal / Nm3.
”The Pitesti NFP team is a large family, in which everyone has contributed and contributes to the development of the plant, to the increase of its national and international prestige, and today we are proud of a modern factory, open to collaborations and exchange of experience, of those 30 years of uninterrupted activity and of the produced nuclear fuel bundles, whose behavior in the NPP Cernavoda reactors ranked the two units of the plant among the first nuclear plants in the world. NFP Pitesti has very good results in the production of fuel bundles and the experience gained and the lessons learned will help us move to the next step, that of producing CANDU-6 type nuclear fuel bundles for the 4 units from Cernavoda NPP. I thank my colleagues from Pitesti NFP for their performances and I congratulate them for their professionalism! ”. – Cosmin Ghiță, General Manager of Nuclearelectrica.
SN Nuclearelectrica SA is a national electricity, thermal and nuclear fuel producer under the coordination of the Ministry of Energy. The state owns 82,49% of the shares, while 17,50% is owned by other shareholders, following the the company’s listing on the stock exchange market in 2013.
Nuclearelectrica owns Cernavoda NPP Subsidiary, which operates the two CANDU Units, two of the most performant nuclear units out of more than 400 nuclear units worldwide, FCN Pitesti Subsidiary, the fuel manufacturing plant and the company is in process to complete the integrated fuel cycle through aquiring the uranium ore processing line in order to support its long-term investment projects.
Nuclearelectrica has a major role at national level, contributing with approximately 18-20% clean energy to the total energy production and 33% to the total energy production with no CO2 emmissions in Romania.

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