In 2014-15, NFC, which produces fuel assemblies required for all the operating nuclear power reactors in the country, become world’s highest producer of nuclear fuel with the production of 1252 MT, its chief executive officer N. Saibaba said. Though the country doesn’t need 1500 tonnes of pressurised heavy-water reactor (PHWR) fuel bundles at present, the production was achieved to demonstrate its ability to meet future requirements, he said.
“We need only around 750 tonnes today for operating all our reactors in the country. But we are making more, because we would like to demonstrate the capacities of our NFC and also we plan to develop new places. For example, about 16,700 MW reactors are expected to come up by 2030-31. These require huge amount of fuel,” he said.
The NFC plant in Hyderabad has plans to go up to 2,000 tonnes and the plant at Kota aims to go up to 800-1,000 tonnes, he said, “so that we don’t need any new plant, existing two plants will be able to take care of all the requirements”. The output of nuclear power is expected to be 14,000 MW-15,000 MW in the next six years (by 2022-23) with more reactors likely to be in place with the government committing to provide Rs.3,000 crore every year for power production and a new Act allowing NFC to join hands with PSUs in developing new power plants, he said.
NFC also manufactures various Zirconium alloy reactor core structures like Pressure Tubes and Calandria Tubes. The complex is also involved in manufacturing seamless tubes in different grades of materials for strategic applications, meeting critical requirements of the DAE, space and defence.
These include Truss Rod Assemblies, hydraulic tubing for Light Combat Aircraft, special grade Copper blanks for Prithvi and Nag missiles, Missile casings, special grade seamless tubes for nuclear submarine, seamless tubes for Advanced Ultra Supercritical Boilers and Brahmos.