Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers has given the green light for work to begin to develop project documentation for the construction of two Westinghouse AP1000 reactors at the Khmelnitsky NPP. Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko said Ukraine was starting to develop technical documentation for the new type of reactor. “In other words, we have ended the era of the creation of nuclear energy based on Soviet technology." The target date to complete construction and start-up of units is 2030-2032, subject to the impact of the military hostilities. The estimated cost of each unit at about $5bn. He said work can now start on a technical and economic feasibility study.

Petro Kotin, President of Ukraine's nuclear utility Energoatom, said construction of АР1000 power units opens the way to “continue the implementation of modern technologies, strengthen our energy front and accelerate the reorientation of Ukrainian energy to Western standards”.

Ukraine currently is in control of three of four NPPs with a total of 15 Soviet designed reactors – South Ukraine (three VVER-1000s); Rivne (two VVER-1000s and two VVER-440s); and Khmelnitsky (two VVER-1000s and two more partly completed units). The Zaporizhia NPP, with six VVER-1000s, has been under Russia’s control since March 2022.

In August it was announced that Energoatom had selected Westinghouse AP1000 technology for its long-term goals to develop new NPPs in Ukraine. A memorandum of understanding was signed for five new units including two at Khmelnitsky and one unit each at Rivne, South Ukraine and Zaporizhia as well as two others at a new site – Orbita in Chigrin. This had previously been considered for a new NPP during Soviet times. Kotin said Ukraine was aiming for four new units at two new sites between 2032-2040.

The following November the first two agreements was signed on the construction of the two units at the Khmelnisky NPP. They would not be constructed at the site of the partly built units 3&4 but at a new site in the station territory. In June 2022, Energoatom and Westinghouse agreed to increase the number of new units with AP1000 reactors from five to nine with support from a planned Westinghouse Engineering Centre in Ukraine. As yet no work has started.

Image: Artist's impression of one of the new reactors to be built at Khmelnitsky NPP (courtesy of Energoatom)