Energoatom, the Ukrainian nuclear generation company, plans to significantly boost its purchases of alternative fuel assemblies for use at the country's nuclear plants.
The total proportion of the alternative construction arrays for the VVER-100 reactors will be increased from 24.9% in 2004 to 83.6% in 2005.
Last year Energoatom purchased a total of 590 fuel assemblies for the VVER-1000 units, including 147 of the alternative construction assemblies from Russia’s TVEL. This year, it intends to buy just 104 standard assemblies and 532 of the alternatives. Ukraine plans to buy fuel for all 15 of its reactors from Russia under an ongoing agreement that sees the fuel sold at a discounted price. The base reference price established in 2000 is about half the global market price. In 2000 Ukraine’s plants bought fuel at 28% below the base reference price. In 2002 this discount was decreased to 18%, and in 2003 and 2004 to 9%.
In a separate move, the company is also planning to develop a spent nuclear fuel depot for its South Ukrainian, Rovno and Khmelnitski facilities over the coming year, with operations expected to commence in 2008. Holtec International has won the tender to design and build the depot.
The depot, which is to be built on a turnkey basis, is expected to be able to handle some 2500 fuel rods from VVER-100 reactors and 1080 from VVER-440 reactors after completion of the first stage, expected to cost of the order of $30 million.
Meanwhile, the country has also restored energy exports to Russia after a transmission fault between Khmelnitski and Chernobyl plants on a 750kV line and simultaneous shutdown of several reactors. Energoatom is only allowed to export excess capacity.