Ukrainian nuclear utility Energoatom and US-based Holtec International have signed a “Master Agreement” intended to establish in-country manufacturing capabilities for production and fabrication of nuclear systems, structures, and components (SSCs) for advanced small modular reactors (SMRs), used fuel storage and transport systems, and other nuclear energy related application.

The agreement was signed by Energoatom Acting President Petro Kotin in Kyiv, and concurrently by Holtec International President & CEO Dr Kris Singh in Camden, New Jersey (US). The ceremony was also witnessed by Ukrainian Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko ; Shawn Anderson, the US Embassy’s Department of Energy Office Director and Energy Attache; Denys Yehorov, Director of Energoatom International Cooperation Department; Riaz Awan, Holtec’s Vice President for Ukraine Operations; and a number of Holtec International’s executives, as well as representatives from various Ukrainian organizations, and local news media.

The agreement seeks to advance the deployment of Holtec’s SMR-300 advanced nuclear reactors in Ukraine following on from an April 2023 Cooperation Agreement signed by the two parties. A working group is being established to proceed with the work effort required for technical and other aspects in line with a comprehensive Implementation Plan.

The April 2023 agreement sought to pave the way for up to 20 Holtec SMR-160 units to be deployed in Ukraine. Holtec says its SMR has since undergone several design evolutions, the most recent of which is the incorporation of forced flow capability overlayed on gravity-driven flow in the plant’s primary system for the SMR-300. This is a pressurised water reactor producing around 300 MWe or 1050 MWt for process applications.

Halushchenko noted: “Establishing in-country manufacturing capabilities for the nuclear energy sector would not only contribute to the strengthening of the country’s energy security, but would also allow Ukraine to become a global leader in the field of nuclear energy. The document will enable Ukraine “to become a regional hub for manufacturing, exports, training, and deployment of SMRs and for managing used fuel produced by our operating reactors while also accruing the multiple benefits of economic development and jobs creation and decarbonization and promotion of green energy future”.

Kotin said: “The introduction of advanced technologies and state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in Ukraine will be of great importance for the post-war economic recovery of our country. This Master Agreement will lead to a modern manufacturing and training facility which will spur economic development, create well-paying jobs, and pave the way for Ukraine’s emergence as the Regional Hub for Holtec’s SMR-300 and used fuel technology.”

Shawn Anderson said the agreement paves the way for the establishment of a cutting-edge manufacturing facility aimed at localising the production of equipment for Holtec SMRs, used nuclear fuel storage and transport systems, and other nuclear energy-related necessities in Ukraine.”

In November 2023, Holtec and Energoatom announced plans to build a plant in Ukraine for the production of containers, which are currently made in the USA, for the storage of used nuclear fuel. In 2022, a Centralised Spent Fuel Storage Facility built by Holtec the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone was finally commissioned after many delays. The original contracts for construction of the facility were signed in 2005.

Image: Holtec President and CEO Kris Singh (centre), Kelly Trice, Holtec president of Nuclear Generation and Decommissioning (left), and J. Scott Thompson, President, Holtec Security International and Senior Vice President and Chief Governance Officer (right) at the signing ceremony (courtesy of Holtec)