Ukraine aims to complete safety upgrade program in 2020

07 August 2015

Energoatom has postponed the completion target date for its program to improve the safety of its nuclear power plants from 2017 to the end of 2020.

The Ukrainian nuclear power plant operator said the postponement is due to the delayed entry into force of two €300 million ($327 million) loan agreements following a change of government in Ukraine. Signed in August 2013 and ratified by the Ukrainian parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, in May 2014, the agreements with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and Euratom finally entered into force on 19 December 2014 and 28 May 2015, respectively.

The UNIAN news agency reported today that the change in schedule was announced by Gregoriy Plachkov, Energoatom's deputy director of investment and long-term development, at a meeting of the state-run company's Friendly Nuclear UA community.

"The project began in 2011 ... we were supposed to complete it in 2017, but unfortunately, due to the fact that the European credit came into force only this year - due to a change of government and bureaucracy - we are now engaged in a change to the timing of this program and we hope that it will be implemented before the end of 2020," Plachkov said.

The total cost for the program to bring all of Ukraine's 15 operating nuclear reactors into line with both international standards and local regulations is estimated at €1.4 billion ($1.8 billion). Plachkov noted that the total amount of the loan is the largest in the history of the Ukrainian energy sector.

The project will cover up to 87 different safety measures at plants that the EBRD has said do not currently meet international standards. Depending on the individual plant, measures will address design safety issues comprising the replacement of equipment in safety relevant systems, improvements of instrumentation and control for safety relevant systems and the introduction of organisational improvements for accident management. Further measures will be added to the evolving program if and when new issues are identified, in particular as a result of the post-Fukushima EU stress tests in which Ukraine participated voluntarily.

The upgrade program takes into account International Atomic Energy Agency recommendations and has been reviewed by Ukraine's nuclear regulator with assistance from the European Commission to ensure internationally acceptable safety levels.

Energoatom is "constantly" working on projects to improve the safety of its plants, Plachkov stressed. "This process is permanent, we never stop improving safety and work on it every day. It is our duty as a licensee of nuclear installations."

Ukraine has four nuclear power plants with 15 units in operation.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News