Energoatom borrows $51 million to buy additional Westinghouse fuel: Uranium & Fuel

June 01, 2022

Ukraine’s Energoatom took out a UAH 1.5 billion ($51 million) loan from Ukrgasbank to buy more nuclear fuel from Westinghouse. This follows the energy giant’s decision to stop using Russian fuel earlier this year.

In a statement, Energoatom said that “the borrowed funds will increase the purchase of American fuel and ensure the efficient operation of Ukrainian nuclear power plants after the abandonment of Russian fuel”.

CEO Petro Kotin said: “We appreciate our strategic partnership with Ukrgasbank which has lent a hand to Ukraine’s nuclear energy during the difficult war period.”

Energoatom last year signed deals with Westinghouse for nuclear fuel for VVER-440 reactors, part of a two-decade diversification process – last year Westinghouse fuel was in service at six of the reactors The country’s Russian-designed VVER-1000, with Westinghouse’s fuel for the country’s two VVER-440 reactors to be supplied from 2024.

Energoatom operates four nuclear power plants in Ukraine, with a total of 15 units. It reported on June 1 that all plants were operating within normal safety limits, with eight of the units currently connected to the grid and the others closed for maintenance or placed on standby.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi continues to seek access to Zaporizhyzhia, Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, but has so far failed to obtain the agreement for inspectors to visit the plant, which is still operated by its Ukrainian personnel, while being under the control of Russian military forces.

The IAEA does, however, have a team in Chernobyl – the second mission there in six weeks. The IAEA said that during the three-day visit “the IAEA team of specialists will provide support in radiation protection, waste management safety and nuclear security.”

“In addition, IAEA inspectors and technicians will verify declared nuclear materials and activities and confirm the operation of the remote transmission of safeguards data” from Chernobyl to IAEA headquarters.

Chernobyl was occupied by Russian forces from February 24 until the end of March, when they withdrew. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development estimated last month that at least £100m was needed to repair damage and replace equipment and other infrastructure following the occupation.

Ukraine’s State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate said an IAEA inspection took place last week at the Rivne nuclear power plant, under the auspices of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons – the purpose of this type of inspection is to verify the nuclear material on site.

Research and writing by World Nuclear News

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