Energoatom seeks to extend links with Westinghouse

11 March 2015

Energoatom has announced plans to increase its cooperation with Westinghouse that include an expansion in the use of the US-based company's nuclear fuel, a memorandum aimed at familiarising Energoatom personnel with the AP1000 reactor design, and Westinghouse's participation in a future fuel fabrication plant in Ukraine.

Energoatom-Westinghouse - March 2015 - 460 (Energoatom)
Energoatom president Yuri Nedashkovsky (left) and Westinghouse Electric Company president and CEO Danny Roderick at yesterday's press conference (Image: Energoatom)

The plans were outlined yesterday during a press conference held in Kiev and led by Energoatom president Yuri Nedashkovsky and Westinghouse Electric Company president and CEO Danny Roderick, who is on a working visit to Ukraine. The event was also attended by Yves Brachet, Westinghouse president of the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) and Michael Kirst, Westinghouse vice president of EMEA strategy and external relations, as well as senior management from Energoatom.

Ukraine has 15 nuclear power reactors at four sites (Khmelnitsky, Rovno, South Ukraine and Zaporozhe), all operated by Energoatom. All the units are Russian VVER types, two being 440 MWe models and the rest larger 1000 MWe units. Russian nuclear fuel manufacturer TVEL, a subsidiary of Rosatom, has been the traditional supplier to Ukraine's reactors. 


Westinghouse and Energoatom said in December they had agreed "to significantly increase" nuclear fuel deliveries to Ukrainian nuclear power plants until 2020. Westinghouse, which said this increased cooperation will bring diversification and security of nuclear fuel supplies for Ukraine's reactor fleet, has been working in the Ukrainian market since 2003. Its fuel is operating at the South Ukraine nuclear power plant.

Westinghouse, which is majority-owned by Japan's Toshiba, said on 5 March that its VVER-1000 fuel had performed "flawlessly" over at least three fuel cycles following an annual inspection of Westinghouse fuel assemblies at unit 3 of the plant. The joint inspection of six Westinghouse fuel assemblies by representatives from the plant, AtomRemontService and Westinghouse took place between 15 February and March 1. The results of those inspections were then verified and validated by the State Nuclear Inspectorate of Ukraine, Westinghouse said. Forty-two Westinghouse fuel assemblies, delivered to the plant in November, would be loaded into unit 3, it added.

Nedashkovsky said at the conference yesterday: "We really value our partnership with Westinghouse in diversifying the supply of nuclear fuel in Ukraine, and we look forward to its expansion."

He said he had acquainted Roderick with Energoatom's "most promising" areas of development - in particular, the completion of the third and fourth units of the Khmelnitsky nuclear power plant and the construction of new reactors, as well as the implementation of a program to improve the operational safety of Ukrainian nuclear power plants, which includes post-Fukushima measures. He also praised developments led by Westinghouse that can be implemented as part of work to extend the operating lives of Ukraine's reactors.

Roderick said that, as the world's largest supplier of nuclear fuel and a manufacturer of fuel assemblies that fully comply with international standards, Westinghouse is "happy to help" Ukraine improve the safety and efficiency of operation of its nuclear power plants. He explained new developments in "Western-style reactors" following the Fukushima accident in Japan, adding that work had started on introducing these developments to Soviet-era VVER reactors operating in Ukraine.

"Completion of the Khmelnitsky nuclear power plant units is being carried out on the Soviet-Russian VVER-1000 design due to the existing structures, but we look to the future and the construction of new units for which we plan to use other reactor technologies," Nedashkovsky said. "Therefore, we propose that Westinghouse signs a memorandum with Energoatom on Ukrainian specialists being familiarised with the AP1000 design developed by Westinghouse Electric Company."

The two companies also "exchanged views" on the provision of nuclear materials in accordance with Energoatom's existing contract with Westinghouse, and the "expansion of Ukraine's opportunity" to use equipment it purchased to inspect and maintain Westinghouse fuel assemblies. They also agreed on an Energoatom initiative "to assess" Westinghouse's nuclear engineering facilities in Europe.

Local media reported from the conference that Roderick had said Westinghouse was willing to consider participation in the construction of a fuel fabrication plant in Ukraine.

TVEL and Westinghouse both bid to build the facility, and in September 2010 the Ministry of Fuels and Energy selected TVEL. The state-owned holding company Nuclear Fuel signed an agreement with TVEL for a 50-50 joint venture to build a plant to manufacture VVER-1000 fuel assemblies. Work has started on the plant at Smolino, in the Kirovograd region of Ukraine. Once operational, it will produce some 400 fuel assemblies per year.

But Nedashkovsky told the conference in Kiev yesterday that TVEL has not yet met its obligations as the winner of the tender. He did not elaborate, but said that in such circumstances the tender conditions permitted consideration of the second candidate.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News