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Pitesti Nuclear Fuel Plant celebrates 30 years of uninterrupted activity

cernavoda centrala

The Pitesti Nuclear Fuel Factory produces annually about 11,000 nuclear fuel beams, a quantity necessary for the operation of the two units from CNE Cernavoda, and since its qualification until now it has produced over 218,000 beams, Nuclearelectrica informs through a press release sent to AGERPRES on Tuesday.

"Currently, FCN Pitesti has a production capacity of 12,000 FC/year and manufactures annually about 11,000 nuclear fuel bundles, a quantity necessary for the operation of the two units from CNE Cernavoda. Since qualifying, FCN Pitesti has produced over 218,000 beams of CANDU 6 nuclear fuel, contributing to 20 pct of the country's total electricity production. In other words, 1 out of 5 bulbs receives nuclear energy, with the help of fuel produced by FCN Pitesti. During the lifetime of a nuclear fuel beam CANDU 6 in the reactor, about 1 year, a quantity of electricity of 1,115 MWh is generated," the document reads.

According to the source, the same amount of energy can be obtained by burning fossil fuel in conventional plants as follows: 470,000 kg of conventional fuel with a calorific value of 7,000 Kcal/kg; 1.110.000 kg superior coal with calorific value of 3.200 Kcal/Kg; 363,000 Nm3 of natural gas with calorific value of 8,050 Kcal/Nm3.

"FCN Pitesti has very good results in the production of fuel beams, and the experience gained and the lessons learned will help us to pass the next step, that of producing CANDU-6 nuclear fuel bundles for the 4 units from CNE Cernavoda. I thank my colleagues from FCN Pitesti for their performance and I congratulate them for their professionalism," said Cosmin Ghita, General Manager of Nuclearelectrica.

The Pitesti Nuclear Fuel Factory celebrates, on February 1, 2022, 30 years of uninterrupted activity. FCN Pitesti was established by the Decision of the Board of Directors of RENEL nr. 14/14.02.1992, starting with February 1, 1992, as a distinct entity within the Autonomous Administration for Electricity (RENEL), by separating from the structure of the Institute of Nuclear Research (former IRNE) of the Department of Fuel Elements Production (SPEC), Agerpres.ro informs.

The production of nuclear fuel based on CANDU natural uranium (CANadian Deuterium Uranium) began in Romania in 1980, by commissioning the Pitesti Institute of Nuclear Power Reactors (former IRNE) of the pilot station, as a nuclear fuel production department. The first nuclear fuel beam of CANDU 6 type, the same type as the one currently manufactured, was produced in 1983.

In 1994, the Nuclear Fuel Factory (FCN) was authorized by Atomic Energy of Canada Limited - AECL (the current CANDU Energy) and Zircatec Precision Industries Inc. (ZPI - now CFM), both from Canada, as a qualified producer and supplier of CANDU 6 nuclear fuel.

FCN Pitesti was the second nuclear fuel factory in the world, after the Resende-Brazil factory, which received the SEDO (Safety Evaluation During Operation) Verification Mission from IAEA experts in 2011, a follow-up mission successfully completed in 2015. Also, FCN Pitesti is the only nuclear fuel factory in South-Eastern Europe and the only CANDU nuclear fuel factory in Europe, Nuclearelectrica said.

FCN Pitesti has the Quality Management System authorized by CNCAN, is certified by SRAC (Romanian Society for Quality Assurance) 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, FCN Pitesti obtained the EMAS Registration Certificate.

The National Company Nuclearelectrica SA is the Romanian national company producing electricity, heat and nuclear fuel operating under the authority of the Romanian Ministry of Energy, the state owning 82.49 pct of the shares and other shareholders, 17.50 pct, after the company's listing on the stock exchange in 2013.

CNE Nuclearelectrica owns the Cernavoda CNE Subsidiary, which operates two CANDU nuclear units, which are two of the most advanced units of the over 400 nuclear power plants in the world, and the FCN Pitesti Branch, the nuclear fuel factory, and is in the process of achieving an integrated fuel cycle by purchasing a uranium concentrate processing line, to support the company's long-term investment projects.

Nuclearelectrica contributes with 18-20 pct nuclear energy to the total energy production and with 33 pct to the total production of energy without CO2 in Romania.

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