Enusa and Westinghouse VVER-440 fuel collaboration

18 January 2023

Spain's Enusa says it and Westinghouse Electric Company have formalised their cooperation agreement for the manufacture of VVER-440 fuel.

Enusa's Juzbado nuclear fuel fabrication plant (Image: Enusa)

Enusa said it plans for a production line for the new fuel at its Juzbado factory to be finished and licensed this year, allowing fuel deliveries early in 2024.

It added: "The two companies have reached this agreement that will allow operators to diversify the collection of this nuclear fuel and reduce dependence on the current supplier, strategically complying with the desire of the European Union to provide a real alternative in the supply of fuel."

The agreement involves Westinghouse and Enusa manufacturing the fuel at their respective factories in Västerås, Sweden, and Juzbado, Spain. Enusa also says the agreement "opens the door to collaboration in engineering and licensing activities as well as in service activities at power plants, which will be finalised based on the contracts that are formalised with the different clients".

There are currently 16 reactors in Europe operating with VVER-440 fuel and utilities are seeking an alternative to Russian-supplied fuel. Westinghouse already supplies the fuel for a number of reactors in Ukraine and beyond.

The agreement between the two companies was first announced at the World Nuclear Symposium in London last September and was seen as building on their existing partnership - such as, since 1974, a pressurised water reactor fuel technology transfer agreement in support of nuclear plants in Spain, Belgium and France, among others, and the supply of nearly 750 VVER-440 fuel assemblies to the Loviisa plant in Finland between 2002 and 2007.

At the time of the agreement being announced last year, Westinghouse's president of nuclear fuel, Tarik Choho, explained: "We have a mutual interest in partnering in VVER-440 fuel manufacturing and potentially other related areas. With our proven track record supplying for VVER reactors, we stand ready to support even greater energy security for our customers and European countries." And Enusa President and CEO Mariano Moreno said "this declaration of intent demonstrates our mutual commitment with energy security throughout Europe in an especially difficult context, as we build on our past successful experience supplying nuclear fuel to the Loviisa nuclear power plant in Finland".

Researched and written by World Nuclear News