Nuclear energy's share of Ukraine's electricity mix is "rapidly approaching" 60%, President Petro Poroshenko said at a meeting of the country's National Security and Defence Council yesterday, according to a statement on the presidential website. The president did not give a date by which the increase would be achieved.
Ukraine has 15 nuclear units in commercial operation at four sites - Khmelnitsky, Rovno, South Ukraine and Zaporozhe - which are all operated by state-owned Energoatom. The units comprise 13 VVER-1000s and two VVER-440s with a total capacity of 13,835 MWe. Ukraine receives most of its nuclear services and nuclear fuel from Russia, but is reducing this dependence by buying fuel from Westinghouse, the US-headquartered subsidiary of Japan's Toshiba.
"I am pleased to inform [you] that we have increased the share of nuclear energy in the overall energy balance. From 47% we are rapidly approaching 60%. This is [equivalent to] millions of tons of coal that Ukraine no longer needs," Poroshenko said.
A large share of primary energy supply in Ukraine comes from the country's uranium and substantial coal resources. The remainder is oil and gas, mostly imported from Russia. Total electricity production in 2014 amounted to 183 TWh, with 8 TWh net exports to Europe. In 2014, 88 TWh was from nuclear, 71 TWh from coal, 13 TWh from gas, and 9 TWh from hydro. Electricity consumption was 134 TWh after transmission losses of 20 TWh due to old grid. Peak demand is about 28 GWe. Total capacity is about 52 GWe, including 22 GWe coal-fired, 13.8 GWe nuclear, 5 GWe gas and 4.8 GWe hydro. Much of the coal-fired plant is old and with unconstrained emissions, and nearly half of it is due to close down. In 2014, 48.6% of electricity was from nuclear, and in 2015, 82.4 TWh comprised 56.5%.
Poroshenko also said he welcomed plans to upgrade the generating capacities of power plants fired by anthracite coal, which is made almost entirely of carbon.
Work to significantly increase the efficiency and improve the operation of all types of power plants in the country "must be started immediately" as it will take two to three years, he said.
The president also mentioned cooperation with Poland and China in the "modernisation" of Ukrainian energy companies. "I have discussed attracting financing with my Polish colleagues and the opportunity of using Chinese loans with President of China Xi Jinping," he said.
In March 2015, Energoatom, Ukrenergo and Polenergia signed a memorandum of understanding on a project to export electricity via European grids.
Ukrenergo is a Ukrainian state-run power distribution company, while Polenergia is a vertically integrated group of companies working in energy generation, trading and distribution. Polenergia is part of Kulczyk Investments, a privately-owned Polish investment company.
Energoatom said then the agreement would make it possible to use all its available nuclear capacity and attract funds for the completion of the third and fourth reactors of its Khmelnitsky nuclear power plant. In July the same year, the Ukrainian government approved a pilot project, named the "energy bridge", to transfer electricity from unit 2 of the Khmelnitsky plant to the European Union.
In November last year, Energoatom agreed to enhance its cooperation with Chinese, Argentinian and Spanish companies - respectively, China National Nuclear Power, Nucleoeléctrica Argentina SA and IDOM Nuclear Services.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News