Ukraine starts trial use of spent nuclear fuel storage
MOSCOW. Dec 15 (Interfax) - A total of 13 containers with spent nuclear fuel have already been placed at the Central Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage Facility, which has started operating in the trial mode in 2023, acting director of the Ukrainian State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate Oleg Korikov said.
"In 2023, the National Nuclear Energy Generating Company Energoatom operator effectively practiced the routes of delivering fuel to the Central Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage Facility, hauls from three nuclear power plants were carried out, and at present, 13 containers with spent nuclear fuel are being stored in its venue," Ukrainian media outlets quoted Korikov as saying at a briefing in Kiev.
The next stage is switching the storage facility from the trial operation to the industrial one, he said. The trial operation permit is valid for three years since the first batch of spent nuclear fuel was loaded, he said. Energoatom now has two years and six months "to work on all elements of the technology, which should be carried out during the trial operation, then prepare a security analysis appropriately and apply for the transition into the industrial operation with the regulatory authority," Korikov said.
The regulatory authority issued a separate permit to put the Central Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage Facility into operation as early as in 2022, he said.
As reported, the Central Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage Facility is a standalone nuclear facility intended for long-term storage of spent nuclear fuel from the South Ukraine, Khmelnitsky and Rovno nuclear power plants. Prior to 2021, fuel from these NPPs was transported for storage and processing to Russia, costing Ukraine about $200 million a year.
The Central Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage Facility was supposed to start receiving fuel from these plants in April 2022, but the crisis adjusted these plans, and fuel was stored at the NPPs themselves until 2023. Spent nuclear fuel was not brought to Russia in 2021-2022.
The construction of the Central Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage Facility started in 2017 after Energoatom had signed a contract for it with the American company Holtec International.