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Ukraine / Energoatom Confirms Plans For Five Westinghouse AP1000 Reactors At Existing Sites

By Kamen Kraev
4 October 2021

Company says it is also considering new sites for construction of further units ‘from scratch’
Energoatom Confirms Plans For Five Westinghouse AP1000 Reactors At Existing Sites
The existing Khmelnitski nuclear power station site in Ukraine. Courtesy Energoatom.
Ukraine is planning to build a pilot Westinghouse AP1000 nuclear power unit at the Khmelnitski nuclear power station site followed by four more units at existing sites, with one unit per site, according to Petro Kotin, head of national nuclear generating company Energoatom.

Mr Kotin told NucNet that Energoatom is also considering new sites for the construction of further units “from scratch”.

“Application of the US АР1000 technology will give Energoatom an opportunity in the long term to ensure reliable performance of nuclear generation and its innovation while maintaining the highest safety level and caring for the environment,” he said.

Mr Kotin confirmed that Westinghouse is “ready to supply” components and equipment manufactured for the abandoned Summer AP1000 nuclear project in the US state of South Carolina for the Khmelnitski pilot plant. South Carolina companies Scana (now a part of Dominion Energy) and Santee Cooper spent some $10bn on the project to build two AP1000 plants before halting construction in 2017 after Westinghouse, the lead contractor, declared bankruptcy. Following the abandonment of the proposed new nuclear units, Westinghouse was acquired by Brookfield Business Partners.

Mr Kotin said the equipment has been stored in warehouses at the Summer site and “is in good condition and fit for purpose”. He said it would need to be inspected, its technical condition examined and documented and warranties checked. “After that the respective agreement with Westinghouse can be signed either for the delivery of that equipment to Khmelnitski or for the manufacturing and delivery of the completely new set of equipment.”

Mr Kotin said Energoatom – which operates Ukraine’s fleet of 15 commercial nuclear power units – is looking to both its own resources and external credit to fund its new-build ambitions.

Energoatom is operating at a profit, but is burdened by an obligation to sell electricity in a regulated domestic market, Mr Kotin said. If the obligation is lifted, the company will have additional funds for new reactors.

In a recent interview, Mr Kotin said Energoatom is considering credit from government-backed financial institutions in the US to build the first Westinghouse AP1000 power unit at Khmelnitski. He told NucNet these institutions could be a funding option and preliminary discussions had taken place. “The funding aspect is also included in our memorandum of understanding with Westinghouse as a task for joint resolution,” he said.

According to Mr Kotin, Energoatom has begun discussing the AP1000 pilot project with the US Export-Import Bank (Exim), and the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC).

Exim is the official export credit agency of the US federal government and the DFC is the federal government’s development finance institution, primarily responsible for providing and facilitating the financing of private development projects in lower- and middle-income countries.

Earlier this month, Energoatom and Westinghouse signed an exclusive agreement to bring Westinghouse AP1000 reactors to multiple sites in the eastern European country. At the time they did not say which sites are under consideration, but Khmelnitski – where there are two Russia-supplied units in operation and two under construction – has now been confirmed as a priority.

Khmelnitski-1 and -2 began commercial operation in 1998 and 2005 respectively. Khmelnitski-3 and -4 have been under construction since the late 1980s, but progress has stalled because of financing and political issues.

There are three other commercially operational nuclear power stations in Ukraine – Rovno, South Ukraine, and Zaporozhye.

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