K2R4 safety funding boost

4 August 2004

The Ukranian national utility, Energoatom, will receive loans of $83 million and $42 million from Euratom and the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) respectively to upgrade safety systems at Khmelnitsky 2 and Rovno 4. The two new generation III reactors are being built as one project – called K2R4.

In 2000, loans of $585 million and $215 million were tabled by Euratom and the EBRD but Ukranian authorities decided to complete the project under their own budget.

Now, the European Commission has approved an amendment to the 2000 decision which reduces the loan sums and focuses their use for safety upgrades to follow start-up of the units. Hot testing is underway at Khmelnitsky 2 and has been completed at Rovno 4 and the units are expected to produce power for the first time on 14 August and 16 September.

The level of safety expected following the upgrades is the same as was envisioned in 2000 but, in addition, Ukraine has committed to upgrading all the country's 13 reactors using K2R4 as a benchmark as well as setting up a decommissioning fund and reaching the internationally agreed level of nuclear liability and insurance.

• Khmelnitsky 2 was connected to the Ukranian grid on 8 August. Ukraine now has 14 operating reactors but the country's president, Leonid Kuchma has said that he wishes to see work begin on a third and even a fourth unit at Khmelnitsky, following the completion of Rovno 4.

• Pre-operational tests were authorised at Rovno 4 on 17 August. Fuel will be loaded and core characteristics determined. The new VVER-1000 unit is expected to start up around 25 September when Rovno 3 is scheduled for a maintenance outage.

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