Work under way for first Westinghouse AP1000 in Ukraine

15 April 2024

Energoatom and Westinghouse's CEOs, Ukraine's Minister of Energy and the US ambassador have gathered at an event to mark the start of the project to build unit 5 at the Khmelnitsky nuclear power plant.

(Image: Energoatom)

They oversaw the first bit of concrete being laid as part of concreting of the drainage channel. The new unit will be the first of a planned fleet of Westinghouse AP1000 reactors in Ukraine.

Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko said: "This is a major geopolitical project of common interest for Ukraine and the United States. The technologies that we will build and develop together will push Russians out of the European nuclear energy market ... through cooperation in the construction of a new type of reactor for Europe."

Energoatom CEO Petro Kotin said: "Westinghouse is our reliable strategic partner: both in the development and loading of alternative fuel into the VVER reactors, and in the creation of a fuel production line in Ukraine and in the construction of new power units ... during the war, we have not stopped, but on the contrary deepened and accelerated our cooperation."

He said that once the two new units - 5 and 6 - at Khmelnitsky were built, and units 3 and 4 commissioned, the  plant's power capacity would exceed that of the six-unit Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and "will be the largest nuclear power plant in Europe".

Westinghouse Electric Company's President and CEO Patrick Fragman said: "We are opening a new stage, a new milestone in the cooperation between Westinghouse and Energoatom ... Ukraine will get energy that is clean, affordable and with the use of economically feasible technologies. This project will also create many jobs during construction, operation, repairs and maintenance."

US Ambassador to Ukraine Bridget Brink said Ukraine needed more power facilities, especially with its current infrastructure being targeted by regular shelling: "I welcome the efforts and desire of the Government of Ukraine and the Ministry of Energy, Energoatom in the direction of the development of nuclear power industry. These units at the Khmelnitsky NPP will be the first of nine using AP1000 technology, which are planned to be built in Ukraine together with Westinghouse."

Ukraine has 15 nuclear units which could generate about half of its electricity, including the six at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant which has been under Russian military control since early March 2022.

Khmelnitsky's first reactor was connected to the grid in 1987, but work on three other reactors was halted in 1990, at a time when unit 3 was 75% complete. Work on the second reactor restarted and it was connected to the grid in 2004 but units 3 and 4 remain uncompleted. Last week, the Ukrainian Cabinet put forward a draft law on the construction/completion of units 3 and 4. Halushchenko said earlier this year that unit 3 could come into operation in as little as two and a half years.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News