Westinghouse expands fuel production capacity

29 April 2016

Westinghouse Electric Company has announced the expansion of its nuclear fuel factory in Västerås, Sweden. The US-based firm, which is majority-owned by Japan's Toshiba, said the expansion is a response to growing demand for nuclear fuel supply diversification for VVER-1000 reactors in Europe.  

The investment finances additional production facilities and fuel engineering work, as well as the procurement of additional process and assembly equipment for manufacturing the fuel.

The new facilities were officially inaugurated by José Emeterio Gutiérrez, Westinghouse senior vice president for nuclear fuel and components manufacturing yesterday in the presence of representatives from the Västerås Municipality, local business community and the Ukrainian Embassy to Sweden.

This year Westinghouse will deliver five reloads to the South Ukraine and Zaporozhe nuclear power plants. Some 56% of Ukraine's electricity production relies on Russian-built VVER-1000 nuclear power plants.

In December 2014 Westinghouse and Energoatom, Ukraine's state-owned nuclear power plant operator, completed a fuel supply contract extension for its VVER-1000 reactors.

Gutiérrez said: "Westinghouse's increased VVER-1000 fuel production capability at our Västerås facility will enhance security of supply for our customers. Westinghouse takes pride in being the only vendor able to provide fuel to almost all types of reactors around the globe."

Westinghouse noted that more than 60% of the 131 nuclear power plants operating in the European Union are based on Westinghouse technology. Five countries - Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary and Slovakia - operate VVER-design reactors (four VVER-1000 and 14 VVER-440 type reactors), which provide up to 52% percent of total electricity in the given country. The five countries are currently 100% dependent on fuel supply from a single provider, Westinghouse said.

A Westinghouse spokesman said today that the company was investing "tens of millions of dollars" in expanding the Swedish factory.

"The expansion work is almost complete and we expect everything to be 100% operational in the fall," he said, declining to give the size of the expansion.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News