Ukraine production planned of used fuel containers

08 November 2023

Energoatom and Holtec International are planning to build a plant in Ukraine for the production of containers, which are currently made in the USA, for storage of used nuclear fuel. The two already have joint plans for the construction of a plant in Ukraine to manufacture equipment for Holtec small modular reactors.

(Image: Ukraine's Ministry of Energy)

The announcement, by Ukraine's Ministry of Energy, came after a meeting in Washington DC, between Ukraine's Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko (pictured above, left) and Holtec President Chris Singh (pictured, right).

Ukraine's Centralised Spent Fuel Storage Facility (CSFSF), located in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, was commissioned last year. It is a dry storage site for used nuclear fuel assemblies from seven VVER-1000 and two VVER-440 reactors at the Rivne, Khmelnitsky and South Ukraine nuclear power plants. It is designed to have a total storage capacity of 16,530 used fuel assemblies, including 12,010 VVER-1000 assemblies and 4520 VVER-440 assemblies. Contracts were signed for its construction with USA-based Holtec International in 2005, though construction only began in 2017.

Halushchenko said: "With such professional partners as Holtec International, the revival of Ukrainian nuclear energy is not just our goal, but a reality. We are grateful to our partners for their belief in the importance of nuclear energy for the sustainable future and success of Ukraine."

Singh said: "Ukraine's potential in the field of nuclear energy is the best in the region. Our company has been and remains your reliable partner."

The use of the CSFSF means the country no longer has to export its used fuel back to Russia, and it is estimated by Energoatom to save about USD200 million a year. Energoatom President Petro Kotin said it was not just about saving money but was "one of the most important steps in achieving our energy independence".

Holtec International and Energoatom already have plans to build a plant in Ukraine to manufacture equipment for Holtec SMRs, with Energoatom hoping it will become a hub for exports to other European countries. A cooperation agreement signed in April between the two companies called for a joint project office to be established to begin work required for licensing and deployment of up to 20 Holtec SMR-160s in Ukraine.

Speaking after a meeting with Holtec International Vice President Riaz Avan, Energoatom's Kotin said: "The introduction of the latest technologies and the construction of modern production facilities of Holtec in Ukraine will be of great importance for the post-war reconstruction of the economy of our country. This will create thousands of new jobs and significantly strengthen the competitiveness of the Ukrainian nuclear industry. We have a chance to become leaders in this field along with other global companies."

Researched and written by World Nuclear News