3 Mar 2023 12:52

Westinghouse to have enough fuel for all Ukrainian NPPs by year-end - energy minister

MOSCOW. March 3 (Interfax) - Ukrainian nuclear power plants (NPPs) will receive an opportunity to fully switch to fuel from the Westinghouse, a U.S. company, before the end of 2023, Ukrainian Energy Minister German Galushchenko said.

"Our forecast is quite optimistic that cooperation with Westinghouse will give an opportunity to accomplish this process [a transition to U.S. fuel] by the end of this year already," Ukrainian media quoted Galushchenko as saying during the national telethon on Thursday.

The Ukrainian minister said that he recently visited the U.S. partners' fuel production plant.

"Ukrainian specialists are doing a great deal at this plant to produce the relevant fuel as soon as possible in order to replace Russian fuel. We also have agreements with Westinghouse on the construction of a nuclear fuel production plant in Ukraine. It will happen, beyond any doubt," Galushchenko said.

The Energoatom national nuclear energy generating company of Ukraine, which operates the country's nuclear power plants, and Westinghouse signed an agreement at the Khmelnitsky NPP on June 2 to supply nuclear fuel to all NPPs in Ukraine.

Energoatom President Pyotr Kotin said in early 2022 that it would take Westinghouse about two years to cover Energoatom's fuel needs for Ukraine's 13 VVER-1000 reactors. The NPPs currently have sufficient stockpiles of fuel, he said.

When asked about a timeline for deliveries of Westinghouse fuel for two VVER-440 reactors at the Rovno NPP, Kotin said that the first batch of U.S. fuel for VVER-440 reactors would be delivered in 2025.

Kotin said in March 2022 that there were no questions about fuel for VVER-1000 reactors, while greater efforts had to made with regard to fuel for VVER-440 reactors to enable Westinghouse to start such deliveries in 2023.

Kotin also said that Energoatom was also optimizing fuel delivery schedules to allow the U.S. partners to cover Ukraine's relevant needs. Due to a decline in electricity consumption during the crisis and hence a decrease in power generation, the fuel imported earlier will last for a longer period, he said.

As part of their cooperation, Energoatom and Westinghouse have also launched an internship program for Ukrainian nuclear sector professionals in the U.S., where more than 60 specialists and graduate-level students will receive training in AP1000 plant technology.