First Ukrainian nuclear power plant unit starts working solely on US fuel

The third power generating unit of the South Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant (SUNPP) is the first unit in Ukraine to operate on nuclear fuel assemblies of the Japanese-American company Westinghouse, reported Energoatom’s (Ukraine's state-owned nuclear plants operator) press service on Thursday, July 19.

The reactor used to work on the combine fuel from Russian TVEL Fuel Company. SUNPP plans to transition its second power unit and four other power units from the Zaporizhia Nuclear Power Plant to Westinghouse fuel by 2020.

Fifteen power units operate at four Ukrainian nuclear power plants. Thirteen of them are powered by WWER-1000 reactors. These are water-to-water energetic reactors that produce 1000 megawatts electric. Two more units are power by WWER-440 reactors.

The reactors were built during Soviet era and were designed for fuel cells currently produced by the Russian company TVEL. Nuclear power accounts for almost half of all electricity produced in Ukraine.

TVEL has long been the main supplier of fuel cells for Ukrainian reactors but in 2014, Energoatom signed an agreement with Westinghouse for the supply chain diversification of nuclear fuel. In October 2017, a Ukrainian company claimed that a Japanese-American partner agreed to supply fuel assemblies to thirteen power units of Ukrainian nuclear power plants if Ukraine suspended Russian supplies.

  Ukraine, Energoatom, Russia, Westinghouse