Slovenské elektrárne and Westinghouse fuel supply agreement

25 August 2023

A long-term agreement with Westinghouse for the licensing and supply of VVER-440 fuel assemblies has been signed as part of Slovenské elektrárne's efforts to diversify its supplies for power plants in Slovakia.

From left: Aziz Dag, Senior Vice President and Managing Director of Westinghouse Electric Sweden, Lukáš Maršálek, Deputy Director for Accounting, Finance and Control Department of Slovenské elektrárne, Tarik Choho and Branislav Strýček (Image: Slovenské elektrárne)

The fuel will be supplied by Westinghouse Electric Sweden and will need to get licensing approval for use in the reactors in Slovakia. The aim is for the first deliveries to be about a year after its use is approved.

Branislav Strýček, Slovenské elektrárne director general, said: "Securing another nuclear fuel supplier for our power plants is an important step in strengthening Slovakia's energy security. Nuclear power plants represent an important pillar in our country's energy mix, therefore I consider it to be crucial to secure nuclear fuel supply diversification for their stable operation."

Westinghouse's president of nuclear fuel, Tarik Choho, said: "We are very pleased to contribute to Slovakia’s fuel diversification and to strengthen our long-standing partnership with Slovenské elektrárne. We offer the only Western alternative fuel for this type of reactor and remain fully committed to supporting Slovakia’s operating fleet."

Slovenské elektrárne's diversification strategy is to have at least two alternative nuclear fuel suppliers and potential suppliers of materials and services across the nuclear fuel production supply chain.

In June, France's Framatome said it had been asked by all European VVER operating utilities - including Slovenské elektrárne - to work together on the development of fuel for VVER-440 pressurised water reactors.

In recent years, especially since the war with Ukraine began, nuclear power operators in EU countries who had previously relied on Russian-supplied fuel have sought alternative suppliers. Ukraine had already begun to switch from Russian supplies and as a result of the war has said it is switching all its reactors away from Russian fuel and making a full shift to using Westinghouse fuel.

Slovakia has four nuclear reactors - Mochovce units 1 and 2 and Bohunice units 3 and 4 - in commercial operation, generating half of its electricity. Mochovce unit 3 was connected to the grid in February, while unit 4 is under construction. They are all VVER-440 reactors and are owned and operated by Slovenské elektrárne.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News