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Ukraine, together with Westinghouse, aim to oust Russia from nuclear fuel market in Europe – energy minister

KYIV. March 17 (Interfax-Ukraine) – In the future, Ukraine may become a supplier of nuclear fuel using the technology of American Westinghouse to European countries, Minister of Energy Herman Haluschenko said during a visit to a Ukrainian enterprise where it is planned to arrange the assembly of nuclear fuel (fuel assemblies (FA)) for Russian-made reactors VVER-1000 and VVER-440 on March 16.

“Ukraine, having abandoned Russian nuclear fuel, switched its nuclear power units to nuclear fuel from the American manufacturer Westinghouse. The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Finland, and Bulgaria also expressed their desire to make such a transition. And in the future, Ukraine can become a supplier of nuclear fuel to these countries,” he noted.

According to the minister, at the first stage of establishing production of fuel assemblies of Westinghouse technology at the Ukrainian enterprise, it is planned to launch production of its individual components in the next two years. In particular, in 2023 it is planned to complete the licensing and enter the industrial production of liners, and in 2024 – head parts for fuel assemblies. These components will be used for production of nuclear fuel for the needs of Energoatom at the Westinghouse plant in Västerås, Sweden.

As Energoatom President Petro Kotin added to the Minister, the company plans to start creating its own line for production of nuclear fuel in three years.

“It is planned that in three years we will reach the full cycle of nuclear fuel production in Ukraine. 2026 is the date when we will be able to fully produce our Ukrainian fuel from components manufactured here. And we will purchase elements that we cannot produce from partners,” Kotin explained.

In addition, he noted the importance of manufacturing nuclear fuel for VVER-440 reactors, which was previously produced only by Russia.

Currently, 17 VVER-440 units are operating in Europe, which do not yet have an alternative to Russian fuel, and following the establishment of production of fuel assemblies for VVER-1000 reactors, Ukraine will begin to produce fuel for VVER-440 reactors.

As the head of Energoatom emphasized, the company, together with its strategic partner Westinghouse, can then become an alternative supplier of nuclear fuel for other European countries using Soviet-style reactors, such as the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Finland, and Bulgaria.

In turn, according to Haluschenko, Ukraine is one of the world leaders in the field of nuclear energy, and at present Ukrainian nuclear specialists, together with American partners, are working to force Russia out of the global nuclear technology market.