Ukraine could replace Russia as nuclear fuel supplier to Europe, says energy minister

17 March, 06:00 PM
Minister of Energy Herman Galushchenko and President of NAEK Energoatom Petro Kotin (Photo:Прес-служба Міністерства енергетики України)

Minister of Energy Herman Galushchenko and President of NAEK Energoatom Petro Kotin (Photo:Прес-служба Міністерства енергетики України)

Ukraine could replace Russia as the supplier of nuclear fuel to Europe, Ukrainian Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko said on March 16.

The minister made the announcement while visiting an enterprise that will produce nuclear fuel both for Ukrainian reactors and for export to other countries.

As noted, 17 VVER-440 reactors are now operating in Europe, which have no alternative to Russian fuel.

Ukraine has already began producing components of VVER-1000 reactors and will later start producing fuel for the VVER-440 reactors. The project is implemented by national nuclear power company Energoatom and the US Westinghouse.

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“Unfortunately, many European countries remain dependent on Russian nuclear technologies,” Halushchenko said.

“At the same time, having abandoned Russian nuclear fuel, Ukraine switched its reactors to nuclear fuel produced by Westinghouse. Czechia, Slovakia, Finland, and Bulgaria have also expressed the desire to make the same transition. And in the future, Ukraine may become a supplier of nuclear fuel for these countries.”

According to the minister, relevant Ukrainian enterprises will produce the fuel element clusters of nuclear power plants.

In 2023, Ukraine plans to complete licensing and enter the industrial production of bottom nozzles, as well as start the industrial production of fuel cartridge heads in 2024. These components will be used to produce nuclear fuel for the needs of Energoatom at the Westinghouse plant in Västerös, Sweden, Halushchenko said.

The company plans to create its own line to produce nuclear fuel in three years, Energoatom CEO Petro Kotin added.

“Today, our nuclear experts, together with US partners, are working to oust Russia from the global nuclear technology market.”

Ukraine’s nuclear power plants will fully switch to using Westinghouse fuel by late 2023, Halushchenko announced on March 2. 

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