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KIEV, January 20. /TASS/. The third power unit of the South Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) has been relaunched after problems with the turbogenerator’s condensate have been eliminated, the NPP’s press office reported on Friday.
"After violations have been removed, the power unit has been reconnected to the power grid. The power unit is being loaded at a statutory speed. The radiation background in the NPP area complies with safety requirements," the press office said in a statement.
The South Ukraine NPP’s power units have been shut down on numerous occasions after the activation of the emergency protection system. Specifically, on May 20, 2016, the NPP’s second power unit stopped generating electricity for the power grid. Some Ukrainian media outlets attributed the incident to the improper work of nuclear fuel produced by the US company Westinghouse Electric.
Ukraine’s Energoatom, the operator of the country’s NPPs, refused then to answer TASS’ question about a link between the situation at the nuclear power plant and the use of US fuel there. However, in early June, after major repairs at the NPP’s third power unit, Energoatom reported that 83 fuel elements from Westinghouse and 80 elements from Russia’s TVEL had been loaded into its active zone.
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."