US DOE advises Ukraine on winter fuel crisis plan

17 June 2015

The deputy assistant secretary of the US Department of Energy last week met with the president of Ukrainian nuclear power plant operator Energoatom as part of preparations for an emergency response plan for Ukraine's energy sector during the winter season. Two days prior to this, William Bryan took part in a meeting between Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and US Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, during which the plan was also discussed.

William Bryan at the meeting with Energoatom - 460 (Energoatom)
William Bryan at the meeting with Energoatom (Image: Energoatom)

Nuclear power accounts for more than half of Ukraine's electricity supply. A large share of its primary energy supply comes from its uranium and substantial coal resources. The remainder is oil and gas, mostly imported from Russia.

In a statement following Bryan's meeting with Yuri Nedashkovskiy on 12 June, Energoatom said the emergency response plan being developed for 2015-2016 by the Ministry of Energy and Coal involves experts from Canada, the European Commission and the USA. A group of 20 experts from those countries and the Commission will visit Ukraine next month to update its "crisis plan", it said.

During their meeting, Bryan noted that Energoatom had played a "very important role" in the preparation of a similar plan for 2014-2015. He said: "Energoatom has provided us with a wealth of information that has been taken into account in the plan [for 2015-2016]. I know that, in accordance with the recommendations contained in the document, Energoatom has already performed specific actions to modernize its procedures for specific nuclear power plants."

During the meeting between Yatsenyuk and Moniz, the Ukrainian prime minister had "noted the importance of continuing work on the latest plan, and promised us the full support of the Ukrainian government," Bryan said, according to the Energoatom statement. Yatsenyuk had "stressed the importance" of Energoatom for Ukrainian electricity supply, with the share of nuclear power in the country's power production being as much as 58-60%, he added.

"We are really counting on the help of specialists from Energoatom to prepare [Ukraine] for winter. Energoatom will have the opportunity to point out any gaps in the plan, be they to do with financing, regulatory issues or legislative measures. On all of these issues, we are ready to offer our help," Bryan said.

Nedashkovskiy said that Energoatom had already worked together last year with network operator UkrEnergo to develop emergency response measures in the event of a blackout. "I can say therefore that sufficiently good work has been organized in Ukraine to prepare the energy system for crisis conditions. I am sure that the document we are creating will help us to successfully get through the next heating season," he said.

In April, Energoatom warned that new anti-corruption laws could threaten its investment programs and thus impede its ability to ensure the vital contribution nuclear power makes during the winter season.

The law, which took effect on 26 April, broadens the conditions customers must apply in their decisions whether or not to accept bids in state-run procurement procedures. The law requires the inclusion of information about bidders who have been recorded in the state register of persons who have committed corruption crimes. The register is to be kept by the National Agency for Counteracting and Preventing Corruption. Energoatom argues that the register does not state whether criminal allegations have in fact been upheld or not.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News