South Ukraine 3 clear for operation with Westinghouse fuel

30 December 2019

The State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine has approved commercial operation using Westinghouse fuel at unit 3 of the South Ukraine nuclear power plant. The regulatory authority signed the relevant document after pilot operation of the unit had shown the fuel was "safe, reliable and efficient", Energoatom said on 28 December.

The Ukrainian regulator has approved commercial operation of South Ukraine unit 3 with Westinghouse fuel (Image: Energoatom)

The nuclear fuel delivered by Westinghouse is manufactured at its fuel fabrication facility in Västerås, Sweden. The company supplies fuel to six of Ukraine's 15 nuclear power reactors, which from 2021 will increase to seven. The 15 reactors - at Zaporozhe, Rovno, South Ukraine and Khmelnitsky - are all operated by state-run Energoatom. They include 13 VVER-1000s and two VVER-440s with a total capacity of 13,835 MWe.

Natalya Shumkova, Energoatom's executive director for nuclear and radiation safety and scientific and technical support, said the approval had followed "complex and long-term work by Ukrainian, American and Swedish specialists".

Ukraine and the USA signed an intergovernmental agreement in 2000, according to which a project for the qualification of US-made nuclear fuel for Ukrainian plants began. Westinghouse began supplying fuel to Ukraine in 2005, when six pilot fuel assemblies manufactured by Westinghouse - the TVS-W type - were loaded into the reactor of South Ukraine unit 3. In 2010, another 42 Westinghouse fuel rods were loaded into the unit. Westinghouse fuel was loaded into units 1, 3 and 4 of the Zaporozhe plant in 2017.

Energoatom said that currently 746 fuel assemblies manufactured by Westinghouse are in operation in six of its reactor units - 163 each at South Ukraine 3 and Zaporozhe 5; 126 each at South Ukraine 2 and Zaporozhe 1; and 84 each at Zaporozhe 3 and 4.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News