Ukraine’s State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate (SNRI) on 28 December approved the transition of South Ukraine 3 to the commercial use of Westinghouse supplied fuel.
"We are proud that South Ukraine NPP, which has been operating with Westinghouse fuel assemblies for 13 years, has become the first in this project, which is very important for the state's energy security," the press service of nuclear utility Energoatom said, citing South Ukraine nuclear power plant director general Volodymyr Lisnichenko.
SNRI signed the relevant document after pilot operation of the unit had shown the fuel was "safe, reliable and efficient", Energoatom noted.
The approval followed "complex and long-term work by Ukrainian, American and Swedish specialists," according to Natalya Shumkova, Energoatom's executive director for nuclear and radiation safety and scientific and technical support.
Westinghouse currently supplies fuel to six of Ukraine's 15 nuclear reactors, and this will increase to seven from 2021.
The nuclear fuel is manufactured at the Westinghouse fuel fabrication facility in Västerås, Sweden.
Energoatom said that currently 746 fuel assemblies manufactured by Westinghouse are in operation in six of its reactor units - 163 each at South Ukraine 3 and Zaporozhe 5; 126 each at South Ukraine 2 and Zaporozhe 1; and 84 each at Zaporozhe 3 and 4.
Ukraine’s 15 reactors - at Zaporozhe, Rovno, South Ukraine and Khmelnitsky - include 13 VVER-1000s and two VVER-440s with a combined installed capacity of 13,835MWe.
Outside of Ukraine, Westinghouse has lead test assemblies in operation at Temelin nuclear plant in the Czech Republic.
Photo: South Ukraine 3 has started commercial use of Westinghouse nuclear fuel (Credit: Energoatom)