Ukraine’s nuclear power plants to switch to using US nuclear fuel by end of year
Westinghouse зможе повністю забезпечити українські АЕС ядерним паливом до кінця 2023 року (Photo:Richard Huppertz / Wikipedia)
Ukrainian nuclear power plants will fully switch to using fuel from the U.S. company Westinghouse by the end of 2023, Ukrainian Energy Minister German Galushchenko said on March 2, according to Ukrainian news agency Interfax-Ukraine.
"We have quite optimistic forecasts and confirmation that our cooperation with Westinghouse will enable us to implement this process (of sourcing U.S. fuel) by the end of this year," the minister said.
Galushchenko added that Ukraine plans to build its own nuclear fuel production facility.
"We also have relevant agreements with Westinghouse on the construction of a nuclear fuel production plant in Ukraine. This will definitely happen."
At the same time, he emphasized that Europe's rejection of Russian nuclear fuel remains a pressing issue.
"Russia has a significant presence on the European fuel market, and during our meetings with the EU and U.S. energy ministers, we discussed in detail that it is important to ensure the production of fuel in the required quantity as soon as possible to replace Russian fuel on the European market," he said.
Galushchenko added that it is difficult to quickly find a replacement for Russian nuclear fuel. Unlike gas, for example, nuclear fuel is produced in a set amount, meaning that increasing the volume takes time.
He added that Russia has had an almost monopolistic position in the market of fuel for VVER-440 units.
"Therefore, we’re now working to ensure that Westinghouse begins assembling these units this year, and we will thereby get rid of our strong dependence on Rosatom in this area," the energy minister said.
Energoatom stopped purchasing Russian nuclear fuel in March 2022, following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
Energoatom and Westinghouse signed an agreement in June 2022 to supply nuclear fuel to all Ukrainian NPPs, which together have 15 reactors. Currently, seven reactors are already using this fuel.
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