The first batch of nuclear fuel produced by Westinghouse for VVER-440 power units may arrive in Ukraine already this year.
This was reported by acting Head of the State Inspection of Nuclear Regulation Oleh Korikov at a briefing in the Media Center on Thursday, Interfax-Ukraine reports.
“Thanks to our joint project with the USA and Westinghouse, a licensed producer of nuclear fuel that can be and is being operated in VVER (VVER-1000) reactors has actually been created, and fuel is now being supplied to Ukrainian nuclear power plants. So far, there is no such degree of readiness for VVER-440, but by the end of the year it is planned to load the first batch of Westinghouse fuel into VVER-440 power units,” he emphasized.
As Ukrainian Energy reported, after the full-scale invasion of the Russian Federation into Ukraine, Energoatom completely refused to purchase Russian nuclear fuel.
At the beginning of March 2023, the Minister of Energy of Ukraine German Galushchenko announced that by the end of this year, Ukrainian nuclear plants will be able to completely switch to the fuel of the American company Westinghouse. Currently, Ukrainian specialists present at the company’s plant are doing a lot to produce the appropriate fuel as soon as possible to replace the Russian one.
The minister emphasized that it is impossible to quickly find a replacement for nuclear fuel, unlike, for example, gas, because it is produced in a certain amount, and increasing volumes takes time, and in the fuel market for VVER-440 units, the Russians have an almost monopoly position in the market.
In June 2022, at the site, Westinghouse and Energoatom signed an agreement on the supply of nuclear fuel to all nuclear power plants of Ukraine with 15 power units (7 power units are currently loaded with this fuel) and the construction of nine AP1000® power units.
As part of the cooperation, Energoatom and Westinghouse have launched an internship program for Ukrainian nuclear scientists in the United States, within the framework of which more than 60 experts and graduates of nuclear specialties will study the AP1000® technology.