Ukraine latest: Energoatom looks to future, SNRIU updates EU regulators

22 June 2022

Ukraine’s nuclear power plant operator Energoatom says it has held talks with US firm Westinghouse to discuss actions including preparing regulatory documentation for the planned construction of new nuclear power units.

Energoatom has plans for nine new Westinghouse reactors (Image: Energoatom/Telegram)

The virtual meeting between Energoatom President Petro Kotin and Elias Gedeon, senior vice president of Westinghouse, and David Durham, President, Energy Systems for Westinghouse, follows an agreement earlier this month which saw an increase from five to nine in the number of Westinghouse AP1000 reactors to be built in Ukraine, plus a switch to supply all of the country’s nuclear fuel and the establishment of a Westinghouse Engineering and Technical Centre in Ukraine.

According to an Energoatom account of the meeting, posted on the company’s Telegram account, "the parties discussed urgent issues of bilateral cooperation, including the preparation of regulatory documentation for the construction of new nuclear power units using AP1000 technology in Ukraine and practical steps to establish a Westinghouse engineering and technical center in Ukraine".

Regulators consider lessons from Ukraine

Ukraine currently has 15 nuclear units across four power plants - but the largest of them, Zaporizhzhia, has been under the control of Russian forces since early in March. It continues to be operated by its Ukrainian staff, but the International Atomic Energy Agency, amongst others, has warned about the safety implications of the unprecedented situation, especially as its inspectors have been unable to visit the plant and carry out any of its in-person safety and regulatory roles.

The experience of the situation in Ukraine, where a country with nuclear power plants is involved in a war, is one that the European nuclear community needs to take into account in its future planning, said Gerrit Niehaus, at the end of the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group's sixth European Nuclear Safety Conference.

Niehaus, chairman of the conference, said the world needed new nuclear safety norms that would prevent a repetition of the current situation in Ukraine. There was also discussion on what could be done when such rules on nuclear safety were breached.

He added: "The European nuclear community needs to think about how to help Ukraine, its nuclear safety regulator."

Earlier, on the first day of the two-day event, the head of the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine (SNRIU), Oleg Korikov, explained the situation in the country, warning that the presence of Russian troops, ammunition and military equipment at Zaporizhzhia risked emergencies. He said that the international community needed to develop new standards in the field of nuclear safety but said that the best way to achieve nuclear safety in Ukraine was to end the occupation of Zaporizhzhia.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News