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Ukraine’s Energoatom seeks to restart Russian nuclear fuel deliveries

June 07, 18:36 UTC+3 KIEV
Energoatom is looking for alternative options of Russian nuclear fuel deliveries to Ukraine’s NPPs after the company’s financial accounts have been blocked
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© Ilya Yakovlev/ITAR-TASS

KIEV, June 7. /TASS/. Energoatom, the operator of Ukrainian nuclear power plants, is looking for alternative options of Russian nuclear fuel deliveries to Ukraine’s NPPs after the company’s financial accounts have been blocked, Energoatom President Yuri Nedashkovsky said in reply to a TASS question on Tuesday.

"Our lawyers are working on possible alternative schemes of fuel deliveries," he said in comments on the question about whether the company was considering the option of advance deliveries of Russian nuclear fuel with delayed payments for these supplies. The company head didn’t provide any further details, referring to the confidentiality of the information.

No breach of Russia's contract with larger Westinghouse fuel load

The larger use of fuel from US Westinghouse Company at Ukrainian NPPs does not breach Ukraine’s contractual obligations with Russia on fuel delivery by Russia’s TVEL Enterprise, Nedashkovsky said on Tuesday.

According to the Energoatom president, the contractual obligation to load NPS with nuclear fuel of Russian assembly is relevant only if a nuclear fuel-producing facility is built in Ukraine jointly with Russia’s TVEL.

"The contract with Russia stipulates such a condition [on certain volumes of loading NPPs with Russian fuel assemblies] but only if a nuclear fuel factory is built," the Energoatom head said.

A nuclear fuel plant that was planned for construction in partnership with Russia in the Kirovograd Region would have been the third source of fuel assembly fabrication for Ukrainian NPPs, Nedashkovsky said.

TVEL Fuel Company Vice-President Oleg Grigoryev earlier said Russia had not received any official notice from Ukraine on loading Westinghouse fuel into the reactors of the South Ukraine NPP. According to him, in case of receiving the notice, "measures of juridical nature will be taken as the load of the US nuclear fuel into Ukrainian reactors is a breach of the contract."

Energoatom and Westinghouse have been cooperating since 2000 under the project of introducing US fuel at Ukrainian NPPs.

In April 2012, damages of US fuel cassettes were found at the third power unit of the South Ukraine NPP. A special inter-departmental commission found that the damage had been caused by design defects. In 2014, the Ukrainian leadership readdressed the issue of diversifying nuclear fuel deliveries and the contract with Westinghouse was extended to 2020.

Currently, Westinghouse fuel assemblies are loaded into the third power unit of the South Ukraine NPP. As Ukraine’s State Nuclear Regulation Inspection earlier told TASS, the department "has no principled claims to the operation of Westinghouse fuel at this power unit."

Ukraine’s Energoatom seeks options for restart of Russian nuclear fuel deliveries.

The block of Energoatom

In March 2016, Ukraine’s Enforcement Service seized the accounts and property of Energoatom worth a total of 200 billion hryvnia ($8 billion), actually blocking the financial and economic operations of the country’s largest power generating company.

In this situation, the enterprise has no possibility to make payments, including payments to Russia for the withdrawal of spent nuclear fuel.

As Chairman of Energoatom primary trade union organization Alexei Lych said earlier, payment problems will delay the launch of power units at Ukrainian NPPs.

Energoatom President Nedashkovsky on Tuesday confirmed this information in reply to a TASS question.

According to him, Ukraine’s failure to timely prepay for fuel production may lead to delays in the deliveries of fuel assemblies for two-three power units of Ukrainian NPPs.

"The last delivery was made last week or two weeks ago. We have already two such power units," Nedashkovsky said.

The Energoatom head said the fuel for the third power unit, which might also be confronted with a shortage of fresh fuel assemblies, would probably be delivered through fuel assemblies rechanneled from other power units of Ukrainian NPPs.

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