Ukrainian nuclear utility Energoatom has completed functional testing of UD-based Holtec International's HI-TRAC and HI-STAR 190 containers at unit 3 of the Rovno NPP during the VVER-1000 reactor's recent scheduled maintenance outage. The containers will be used to transport used nuclear fuel to the Central Spent Fuel Storage Facility (CSFSF) under construction at the Chernobyl NPP site. Energoatom said on 8 August that the tests had demonstrated that the equipment met the requirements of the CSFSF systems and project criteria in terms of quality and safety assurance. They will undergo further tests at Rovno unit 4 in October and at units 1 and 2 in November, The CSFSF will be a dry storage facility with used fuel stored in double-walled stainless steel canisters. Energoatom said the facility means Ukraine will no longer have to spend $200 million a year to transport used fuel to Russia for reprocessing.
Rovno plant director general Pavel Pavlyshyn said the functional tests had been carried out after work to reconstruct the transport corridors of the reactor units.
Pavel Sidorenko, Rovno NPP head of maintenance, said experience with the equipment was positive. “Complex tests have enabled minor inconsistencies to be revealed with the aim to eliminate them to ensure the future safe and reliable technological operations,” he noted. Energoatom has produced a report on the tests along with recommendations for small modifications.
Energoatom and Holtec signed a contract for construction of the CSFSF in 2004, but the project was repeatedly in face of political changes in Ukraine. Work resumed in 2014 and in January 2016, an amendment to the contract was signed. In June 2017, the Cabinet of Ministers approved the CSFSF project and the State Nuclear Regulatory Authority issued a licence to Energoatom for its construction and commissioning. Work began in November 2018 with commissioning planned for 2020. The total capacity of the facility will be 16,529 used fuel assemblies for VVER-440 and VVER-1000 reactors. It will store nuclear fuel from the Rovno, Khmelnitsky, and South Ukrainian NPPs for 100 years. Zaporozhye NPP has had its own dry storage since 2001. In December 2017, Energoatom, together with the Ministry of Finance of Ukraine, signed a loan agreement with the US Foreign Investment Insurance Agency OPIC and the Central Storage Safety Project Trust for $ 250 million to support construction.