Ukraine prepares to reduce output during pandemic

30 April 2020

Energoatom will temporarily withdraw from service three of its 15 nuclear power units in line with forecasts of reduced electricity demand during the coronavirus pandemic. The projected balance of electricity production by Ukraine's nuclear power plants this year has decreased by 8.6% to 73.7 terawatt hours, the state-run company said today.

Ukraine is taking three units offline (Image: Energoatom)

The move reflects forecasting by the Ministry of Energy and Environmental Protection (MENR) of reduced electricity demand from Ukraine's nuclear, hydro and thermal power plants during the implementation of anti-pandemic measures.

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.

MENR's forecast requires the temporary withdrawal from service of three VVER-1000 units - Zaporozhe units 2 and 6, and Rovno unit 3. Zaporozhe unit 2 will be offline between 21 April and 30 June (71 days), Zaporozhe unit 6 between 10 May and 15 August (98 days), and Rovno unit 3 between 10 May and 4 August (87 days).

This will ensure the operation of other Ukrainian nuclear power plants “at a level close to nominal”, Energoatom said.

"Energoatom will try to maximise the time of forced downtime of the power units to optimise the timetable of scheduled repairs, the sequence of power units to be repaired, and to prepare for the implementation of measures for the modernisation of power units," the company said. "The units that have been put into reserve will be kept cold throughout the standby with readiness to switch to hot state and output to full capacity in up to two days in the event of an improvement in the situation with the power consumption balance," it added.

Under MENR's plan, the introduction of an updated Energy Balance Sheet is the first step in overcoming the energy crisis, Energoatom said. The immediate anti-crisis steps directly related to Energoatom include the company's entry into the wholesale market for bilateral agreements at market value for the electricity it produces.

As of today, 11 of the country's 15 nuclear power units are operating. On 21 April, Zaporozhe unit 2 was unloaded, disconnected from the grid and put into reserve mode. Unit 3 and unit 5 of the same plant were on the 133rd day and 15th days, respectively, of major planned maintenance work. South Ukraine unit 2 were on the 15th day of a normal scheduled maintenance outage.

On 28 April, the TG-3 turbine generator of Rovno unit 2 - a VVER-440 reactor - was connected to the grid following completion of a maintenance outage.

Yesterday, the plants produced a total of 196.23 gigawatt hours of electricity.

Energoatom said today that, owing to the balance sheet restriction for the past 24 hours, Ukraine's nuclear power plants had "under-produced" by 43.21 GWh of electricity. Radiation, fire and environmental conditions at the plant sites are within normal limits, it added.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News