20 Jul (NucNet): Westinghouse Electric Company has announced that a full core of VVER-1000 fuel has been loaded into a nuclear reactor unit in Ukraine.
Westinghouse said the South Ukraine-3 nuclear plant in the south of the country is the first unit in Ukraine to operate with Westinghouse VVER-1000 fuel assemblies as the sole fuel source.
“Westinghouse began supplying fuel to Ukraine in 2005, when the first lead test assemblies were delivered to South Ukraine Unit 3,” said Aziz Dag, Westinghouse vice-president and managing director for Northern Europe. “We are proud to continue supporting Ukraine with their energy diversification by supplying a full core of Westinghouse VVER-1000 fuel to our customer, Energoatom.”
According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, nuclear energy accounted for about 55% of Ukrainian electricity production in 2017, the fourth highest nuclear share in the world. Westinghouse supplies fuel to six of the nation’s 15 commercial reactors.
Beginning in 2021, the number of Ukrainian reactors supplied with Westinghouse fuel will increase to seven. Ukraine previously sourced much of its fuel from Russia but in 2014 extended its contract with Westinghouse as part of a long-term effort working with the US to reduce fuel dependency on Russia.
“Westinghouse has made significant investments over the last several years in order to further enhance our fuel delivery support to Energoatom,” said Michele DeWitt, senior vice-president for nuclear fuel. “We have dedicated production lines for VVER-1000 fuel and stand ready to supply fuel for further contract expansions.”
The nuclear fuel delivered by Westinghouse was manufactured at the company’s fuel fabrication facility in Västerås, Sweden.
The South Ukraine nuclear station, operated by state company Energoatom, has three 950-MW Soviet-era pressurised water reactor units.
Unit 3 began commercial operation in 1987. Energoatom is preparing to extend its operating lifetime 10 years to 40 years.