Ukraine prepares to begin work on used fuel storage facility

1 February 2017

Ukrainian nuclear utility Energoatom has announced a tender to prepare a construction site for the central used nuclear fuel storage facility in the exclusion zone of the Chernobyl NPP.

The tender will run from 20 February until 20 August. According to the tender documents available in the ProZorro e-procurement system, the expected cost of the works is UAH34.203m ($1.25m). In November, Energoatom President Yuriy Nedashkovsky said that all organisational and legal issues for construction of the facility had been solved.

Energoatom and US-based Holtec International signed a contract to build a used nuclear fuel storage facility in 2005 after Holtec won the tender. A supplementary agreement to the contract in January 2016, foresees that Energoatom will design and build the facility, and Holtec will supply equipment. Holtec will also transfer the used fuel dry cask production technology to Ukraine.

The feasibility study worked out by the Kyiv-based Energoproekt scientific-research and design institute envisions the design capacity of the storage at 16,530 used fuel elements, including 12,010 from the VVER-1000 power units and 4,520 from VVER-440s. Meanwhile, the capacity of the start-up facility is 3,620 assemblies, including 2,510 from VVER-1000s.

Energoatom is hoping to raise $250m from Bank of America Merrill Lynch by October 2017 to build the facility. Currently the company is financing work using funds from its tariff for electricity transmission. Energoatom plans to start  construction work in March for first nuclear fuel delivery to the  storage in late 2018.  Energoatom operates all four Ukrainian NPPs comprising a total of 15 units with an aggregate electric power capacity of 13,385GWe.

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