Energoatom steps up efforts to reduce reliance on Russia Petro Kotin said work is under way to certify a fuel component facility in Ukraine. Courtesy Energoatom. Ukraine is preparing to begin local production of nuclear fuel for the needs of its reactor fleet in cooperation with US-based Westinghouse Electric Company, according to the head of state nuclear company Energoatom.

Petro Kotin said during a visit to a facility in Ukraine preparing to produce nuclear fuel components that Ukraine could have its own nuclear fuel production line as early as 2026.

Kotin said the fuel technology to be used will be provided by Westinghouse, which currently supplies fuel for most of Ukraine’s VVER-1000 pressurised water reactor units.

According to Kotin, work is under way to receive certification for Ukraine’s fuel component facility to be part of the supply chain of Westinghouse’s Vasteras nuclear fuel plant in Sweden by providing parts for fuel assembly manufacturing.

Production will include sub-components such as expansion shanks and cartridge heads for the final assembly of fuel elements in Sweden.

Westinghouse already manufactures VVER-1000 fuel at Vasteras, but has been looking to restart its production capabilities for the smaller VVER-440 units.

The company used to supply VVER-440 fuel for Finland’s two-unit Loviisa nuclear power station, but ceased production in 2009. In 2014, it began examining the option of restarting VVER-440 production to potentially supply customers which operate the technology in central and eastern Europe.

Kotin said Ukrainian fuel specialists are “now working” with Westinghouse at Vasteras to help the company’s plans to produce VVER-440 fuel.

Ukraine Also Eyes Supplies To Other Countries

According to Kotin, Ukraine could potentially supply locally produced nuclear fuel to other countries using Russia-designed VVER reactors like the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, and Finland.

All have vowed to step away from their dependency on Russia’s Tvel for nuclear fuel supplies in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Energoatom said it has been cooperating on fuel manufacturing with Westinghouse since 2018, including a qualification process for the production of expansion shanks and cartridge heads.

A first batch of the components was produced in Ukraine in April 2022 and shipped to Sweden for qualification.

In June 2022, Westinghouse and Energoatom signed agreements for the supply of nuclear fuel for the country’s entire reactor fleet and an ambitious expansion of a planned AP1000 new-build programme.

The agreements covered the “localisation” of fuel sub-component production in Ukraine by Energoatom subsidiary Atomenergomash.

Production of any fuel equipment is most likely to take place at the Atomenergomash machine building and repairs plant (RMZ) in Yuzhnoukrainsk, home of the South Ukraine nuclear power station.

The facility had produced similar components for Russia-designed nuclear fuel before 2014.

Date: Wednesday, 22 March 2023
Original article: nucnet.org/news/kyiv-planning-domestic-nuclear-fuel-production-in-cooperation-with-westinghouse-3-2-2023