Mass deployment of Holtec SMRs in Ukraine is part of accord's aims

24 April 2023

Up to 20 Holtec SMR-160 plants will be built in Ukraine under a cooperation agreement signed between Holtec International and Ukrainian national nuclear operator Energoatom. The agreement calls for the first plant to begin supplying power by March 2029.

Energoatom President Petro Kotin at the signing ceremony (Image: Energoatom)

The agreement was signed on 21 April by Energoatom President Petro Kotin in Kiev and Holtec CEO Kris Singh in Camden, New Jersey, USA. The ceremony was also attended by Ukraine's Minister of Energy Herman Galushchenko and the vice president of Holtec International operations in Ukraine Riaz Avan.

The cooperation agreement envisions implementation of the first SMR-160 Pilot Project with the goal to reach minimum controlled reactor power and connection to the grid by March 2029, Holtec said. "The cooperation agreement further contemplates Energoatom and Holtec jointly developing an efficient execution plan for an expedited construction and commissioning of up to 20 additional SMR-160 plants in Ukraine and for establishing a manufacturing facility in the country for localising the production of a variety of equipment required to build SMR-160 reactors".

The agreement calls for a joint project office to be established to begin work required for licensing and deployment of Holtec's SMR-160s throughout Ukraine, with a focus on former coal generation sites. Energoatom noted the office will be staffed "not only by representatives of Energoatom and Holtec International, but also by the State Atomic Energy Regulatory Commission, the National Nuclear Research and Development Centre of Ukraine, the Ministry of Energy of Ukraine, and world-renowned companies Mitsubishi, Hyundai, and others".

"Construction of small modular reactors (SMRs) in Ukraine would not only contribute to the strengthening of the country's energy security, but would also allow replacing thermal power plants destroyed by Russian attacks and achieving decarbonisation goals," Galushchenko said. "We plan a complete replacement of thermal generation. The best way to replace coal is with small modular reactors. SMRs are a powerful technology that would also allow us to decentralise the generation."

"The cooperation agreement between Energoatom and Holtec International signed today for deployment of SMR-160s is based on two decades of demonstrated successful cooperation between the two companies," Kotin said.

"This cooperation agreement will lead to economic development, creation of jobs, establishment of modern manufacturing facilities, training facilities, R&D, and thus help Ukraine emerge as the regional hub for Holtec's nuclear reactor technology. Furthermore, the cooperation agreement will play an important role in enhancing Ukraine's energy security and advancing our country’s decarbonisation, energy independence, and diversification goals".

Singh added: "We will stand shoulder to shoulder with you to build and commission up to 20 SMR-160 reactors in record time. We are committed to helping the Ukrainian nation rebuild its energy infrastructure."

Holtec's 160 MWe factory-built SMR uses low-enriched uranium fuel. The reactor's core and all nuclear steam supply system components would be located underground, and the design incorporates a wealth of features including a passive cooling system that would be able to operate indefinitely after shutdown. No active components, such as pumps, are needed to run the reactor, which does not need any on-site or off-site power to shut down and to dissipate decay heat.

"This agreement seeks to strengthen the decades-long relationship between Ukraine and Holtec to provide clean energy solutions to the nation and sets down a pathway for a green energy future for Ukraine in the post-Russian aggression age," Holtec said.

In March 2018, a memorandum of understanding was signed between Holtec and Energoatom envisaging the adoption by Ukraine of Holtec's SMR technology with the country becoming a manufacturing hub for SMR-160 reactor components. The MoU included the licensing and construction of SMR-160 reactors in Ukraine, as well as the partial localisation of SMR-160 components. The Ukrainian manufacturing hub is to mirror the capabilities of Holtec's Advanced Manufacturing Plant in Camden, and will be one of four manufacturing plants Holtec plans to build at distributed sites around the world by the mid-2020s.

In June 2019, Holtec, Energoatom and Ukraine's State Scientific and Technology Centre formally entered into a partnership to advance the SMR-160 for deployment in Ukraine. The partners ratified the creation of a consortium partnership that bound the three companies into a cooperative undertaking to progress the deployment of the SMR-160 small modular reactor in the country. The consortium is a US company registered in Delaware with each of the three parties owning allotted shares. Its technology operation centre will be based in Kiev, Ukraine.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News