Energoatom plans use of Westinghouse fuel at Zaporozhe

11 November 2015

Energoatom and Westinghouse have signed a contract for the extension of Ukraine's use of TVS-WR fuel assemblies to the Zaporozhe nuclear power plant. The agreement concerns testing of Westinghouse software at the plant.

The software - BEACON (Best Estimate Analysis of Core Operations - Nuclear) - is a core monitoring and operational support package developed by Westinghouse for use at pressurised water reactors.

Energoatom said yesterday that the agreement was signed at a meeting held on 5 November in Yuzhnoukrainsk, a city 200 miles south of Kiev and where the South Ukraine nuclear power plant is located. The state-run nuclear power plant operator's CEO, Yury Nedashkovsky, said the choice of location was deliberate. Westinghouse, which is majority-owned by Japan's Toshiba, has been working in the Ukrainian market since 2003 and its fuel is already operating at the South Ukraine plant.

Energoatom said that officials from both companies attended the meeting to discuss the further use of the US-based company’s nuclear fuel in Ukraine. The work to upgrade the Zaporozhe plant will be similar to that performed at South Ukraine, Energoatom said.

Westinghouse executives who attended the meeting included José Emeterio Gutiérrez, nuclear fuel senior vice president, Yves Brachet, president for Europe, Middle East and Africa, Aziz Dag, president of Westinghouse Electric Sweden AB, and Jeffrey Bradfute, vice president for fuel engineering and safety analysis. Westinghouse Electric Sweden, based in Västerås, is one of the company's 10 nuclear fuel manufacturing locations.

Ukraine has traditionally relied solely on Russia's TVEL for supplies of nuclear fuel, but in December last year Energoatom and Westinghouse agreed "to significantly increase" nuclear fuel deliveries to Ukrainian nuclear power plants until 2020. Westinghouse originally signed a fuel supply contract with Energoatom in 2008. Through that contract, Westinghouse supplied a total of 630 nuclear fuel assemblies to the three VVER-1000 pressurized water reactors at the South Ukraine plant.

On 19 October Energoatom announced it had held a tender to expand its use of Westinghouse fuel at the Zaporozhe plant. According to its entry in the Visnyk Derzhavnykh Zakupivel state procurements bulletin, on 30 September, Energoatom awarded a UAH 16.85 million ($731,000) contract to Kharkov Institute of Physics and Technology to assist with this project between 2016 and 2020.

On 29 September, Energoatom said it had awarded a €339,990 ($369,000) contract to Westinghouse Electric Sweden, to supply four fuel assembly simulators for the Zaporozhe plant.

Nedashkovsky noted that the South Ukraine plant is the only one to date to use both TVEL and Westinghouse fuel assemblies. South Ukraine was the guinea pig and the experience brought its own challenges, he said, but lessons can be learned from them.

The use of Westinghouse fuel assemblies at Zaporozhe will require a licence from the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine, which Energoatom said it expects will be issued in the spring of 2016. First, it said, the current fuel campaign at unit 3 of the South Ukraine plant needed to be completed - in February 2016 - and then assessed. If and when the licence is granted, Energoatom said it plans to order five supplies of fresh nuclear fuel from Westinghouse - two for South Ukraine and three for Zaporozhe.

The meeting also "paid special attention", Energoatom said, to the possibility of producing components for Westinghouse fuel assemblies at Atomenergomash's facilities, which produces such parts for TVEL's TVSA fuel assemblies. Energodar-based Atomenergomash is Energoatom's nuclear power plant equipment supply subsidiary.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News