Ukraine's national electricity utility Energoatom has extended its nuclear fuel supply contract with Westinghouse through to 2020. The country primarily sources its nuclear fuel from Russia.
|Two of the three units at the South Ukraine nuclear power plant (Image: Energoatom)
Westinghouse originally signed a fuel supply contract with Energoatom in 2008. Through that contract, Westinghouse supplied a total of 630 nuclear fuel assemblies to the three VVER-1000 pressurized water reactors at the South Ukraine nuclear power plant.
This contract has now been amended, extending Westinghouse deliveries of fuel through to 2020. Westinghouse will produce the fuel at its fabrication facility in Västerås in Sweden.
"The signing of this contract for Westinghouse VVER fuel design testifies to the quality of our fuel design and demonstrates that it has, in fact, operated without issue at the South Ukraine nuclear power plant, as confirmed by extensive and recent joint Energoatom and Westinghouse inspections."
Westinghouse president and CEO
Under a US-Ukrainian initiative to reduce Ukraine's dependency on Russia for fuel, in 2005 six Westinghouse fuel assemblies were placed into the reactor core of unit 3 at the South Ukraine plant, together with Russian fuel, for a period of pilot operation. A reload batch of 42 fuel assemblies was provided by Westinghouse in mid-2009 for a three-year period of commercial operation at three units of the South Ukraine plant with regular monitoring and reporting.
However, these trials were deemed unsuccessful, with Energoatom claiming manufacturing defects in the fuel led to a lengthy unscheduled outage at two of the units, while Westinghouse said that errors had been made during fuel loading. In June 2010, Energoatom signed a long-term fuel supply contract with Russia's TVEL for its nuclear reactor fleet. Earlier, Rosatom had offered a substantial discount to Ukraine if it signed up with TVEL for 20 years.
Commenting on its extended long-term supply contract, Westinghouse president and CEO Danny Roderick said: "The signing of this contract for Westinghouse VVER fuel design testifies to the quality of our fuel design and demonstrates that it has, in fact, operated without issue at the South Ukraine nuclear power plant, as confirmed by extensive and recent joint Energoatom and Westinghouse inspections."
He added, "This agreement recognizing the excellent Westinghouse VVER fuel design performance will allow Energoatom to continue diversification of its fuel supply. We expect that with continued superior results and competitive efficiency of our fuel design, Westinghouse will grow its share of the Ukrainian nuclear fuel market."
Rosatom head Sergey Kiriyenko was cited by RIA Novosti as saying, "There is an absolute right for each company to decide who it should buy fuel from, and political decisions should not have any influence [on that right]."
TVEL and Westinghouse both bid to build a fuel fabrication plant in Ukraine, and in September 2010 the Ministry of Fuels and Energy selected TVEL. The state-owned holding company Nuclear Fuel signed an agreement with TVEL for a 50-50 joint venture to build a plant to manufacture VVER-1000 fuel assemblies. Work has started on the plant at Smolino, in the Kirovograd region of Ukraine. Once operational, it will produce some 400 fuel assemblies per year. Russia has agreed to transfer fuel fabrication technology by 2020.
Ukraine has 15 nuclear power reactors at four sites (Khmelnitsky, Rovno, South Ukraine and Zaporozhe), all operated by Energoatom. All the units are Russian VVER types, two being 440 MWe models and the rest larger 1000 MWe units. Between them, the plants provide almost half of the country's electricity.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News