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Security in threat if decision on US nuclear fuel for Ukraine NPPs political

April 10, 2014, 15:15 UTC+3 MOSCOW
“If a fuel assembly is placed near our fuel assembly reliability of which is not guaranteed, this is a systemic threat for our reputation and security,” the Russian nuclear chief said.
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 Nuclear power plant in Ukraine (archive)

Nuclear power plant in Ukraine (archive)

© Fotokhronika TASS/Pavel Zdorovilo

MOSCOW, April 10. /ITAR-TASS/. If Ukraine’s choice of US nuclear company Westinghouse to deliver fuel for Ukrainian nuclear power plants is a political decision this may pose a threat to security, head of Russian state-run nuclear corporation Rosatom Sergey Kiriyenko told reporters on Thursday.

“We take positively any competition and still win in a competitive rivalry. Only one aspect is important that the nuclear industry has the absolute security priority. Therefore, it is the top priority so that all decisions will be taken proceeding from thought-out technological, technical and commercial conditions,” he said, adding that “It is desirable that political conditions will not be involved in this issue. If the nuclear industry begins to take decisions for political reasons, this already poses a threat.”

He recalled Ukraine had already taken a decision on US fuel delivery at nuclear power plants in 2009.

“Test fuel loading has started since 2010, serious problems have emerged with these fuel assemblies in 2011-2012, as they had lost their shape and started deforming,” he said. “Then we have really showed major concerns, because these reactors are filled with Russian fuel and Westinghouse fuel was loaded nearby. This means that we also bear responsibility for all that is happening and we give guarantees of safe operation. If a fuel assembly is placed near our fuel assembly reliability of which is not guaranteed, this is a systemic threat for our reputation and security,” the Russian nuclear chief said.

He added that these nuclear power plants are situated closely to each other in Russia, they are built on Soviet design and are taken in the world as Russia-designed nuclear power plants.

“Then we showed strong concerns, asked our Ukrainian partners so that our specialists will be permitted to inspect the reactor core, even in 2011-2012 Russian fuel company TVEL was forced to notify our Ukrainian partners that if problems continue and our specialists will be barred from open access and they will have to deny guarantees for Russian fuel operation,” Kiriyenko noted.

In 2012 the problem was settled as the Ukrainian nuclear watchdog decided to ban further Westinghouse fuel operation upon results of these experiments due to violation of technical requirements.

“We will follow closely current situation,” Kiriyenko said, noting that “Russian fuel is loaded in these power units and we bear responsibility for guarantees of these supplies and honour all our commitments.”

He also added that if “a decision is taken in line with international logic with a check of reliability and specific tests, all parameters will be observed upon results of these trials, then this is absolutely normal.”

“If this is a political decision, this is really alarming,” he added.

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