Westinghouse and Energoatom signed a contract in September 2020 for the supply of VVER-440 nuclear fuel for the Rovno nuclear power station, which has two VVER-440 and two VVER-1000 pressurised water reactor units in commercial operation.
Energoatom said the Westinghouse-made fuel needs to be licensed under Ukrainian local regulations before it can be used at VVER-440 reactors in the country.
The company said a first experimental batch of the new fuel assemblies, up to 12 pieces, is planned to be loaded into the core of Rovno-2 in 2024. The total volume of supply under the contract with Westinghouse provides for at least 1,056 fuel assemblies, Energoatom said.
Westinghouse has already supplied fuel for VVER-1000 PWR designs for six plants in Ukraine. They are South Ukraine-2 and -3, and Zaporozhe-1, -3, -4 and -5.
Ukraine previously sourced much of its fuel from Russia, but in 2014 signed fuel contracts with Westinghouse as part of a long-term effort with the US to reduce fuel dependency on Russia supplies in the context of Kiev’s souring political relationship with Moscow.
In January 2018, Westinghouse extended the agreement with Ukraine pledging nuclear fuel deliveries to seven of Ukraine’s 15 nuclear units between 2021 and 2025, expanding a contract for six reactors that was set to expire in 2020.
According to data by the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rovno-1 and -2 are the only two VVER-440 reactor units in commercial operation in Ukraine’s fleet of 15 units. The rest are of the VVER-1000 PWR design.
Westinghouse manufactures fuel assemblies of the TVS-WR design for use in VVER 1000 PWRs at its fuel fabrication facility in Västerås, Sweden. The same factory will be used for the manufacturing of VVER-440 fuel assemblies.