Energoatom plans to continue the fuel diversification process
SE “NNEGC “Energoatom” plans to continue the process of diversification of fresh nuclear fuel supply sources for Ukrainian nuclear power plants. Nataliia Shumkova, Executive Director for Nuclear and Radiation Safety and Scientific and Technical Support of SE “NNEGC “Energoatom” announced this during an on-line meeting with viewers of the weekly #AtomNaLinii.
Answering the audience's questions about the reasons for not purchasing Westinghouse nuclear fuel in the first quarter of this year, Nataliia Shumkova stated that the schedules for the fresh nuclear fuel supply, as well as the annual volumes of such supplies, are preliminarily agreed with the suppliers. “If there is a shift in the delivery schedule, it usually happens due to changes in the NPP power units outage schedules, because nuclear fuel is reloaded during power unit outage. This year, the changes of fuel supply schedule have been also made due to the difficult financial condition of Energoatom caused by rampant non-payments from SE “Guaranteed Buyer” for produced by Energoatom electricity. At our request, the suppliers make concessions and review the schedules of nuclear fuel supply”, explained Director for Nuclear and Radiation Safety of Energoatom.
She noted that delays in the current deliveries of nuclear fuel do not in any way affect the operation of NPP power units, since Energoatom has accumulated a fuel supply that allows reloading of all fifteen power units of Ukrainian NPPs for at least a year.
Answering a question about the compliance of Westinghouse fuel with safety requirements, Nataliia Shumkova reminded that the process of diversifying sources of nuclear fuel supply for Ukrainian nuclear power plants took 20 years. “This is exactly how much time has passed from the beginning of Westinghouse fuel development for our reactors to its implementation. Step by step, Ukrainian engineers and scientists, together with Westinghouse specialists, created a fuel design that is now fully compatible with the physical and mechanical characteristics of the fuel of the Russian company TVEL. In parallel, in-core monitoring systems were improved to ensure monitoring of the reactor cores with Westinghouse fuel. Currently Ukrainian nuclear power units operate fuel not just from two different manufacturers, given that this is a fairly widespread practice in the world, but fuel assemblies of various designs, which makes our country the first in the world in this area”, added Director for Nuclear and Radiation Safety of Energoatom.
Nataliia Shumkova noted that many years of experience in operating Westinghouse fuel at Ukrainian NPPs has proven its efficiency, reliability and safety.