Ukraine receives first 2016 shipment of Westinghouse fuel assemblies

A Westinghouse nuclear fuel assembly
A Westinghouse nuclear fuel assembly | Courtesy of Westinghouse Electric Company

Ukrainian officials said late last week that the first Westinghouse Electric Co. shipment of nuclear fuel assemblies has arrived under a new contract.

Russian news agency TASS quoted Ukrainian Energy and Coal Minister Volodymyr Demchyshyn as confirming the arrival of the 42 assemblies to be used in Ukrainian power plants. Demchyshyn had said the nation would import approximately 40 percent of its assemblies from Europe this year, which indicates that Westinghouse’s Swedish plant manufactured the assemblies, and AREVA Inc. enriched the uranium under a recent deal with the French company.

"Five out of thirteen deliveries will be made by Westinghouse (the other deliveries will be carried out by Russia),” Demchyshyn said. “This is far from (energy) independence, but gives a possibility to hold talks with confidence on the terms and the price of deliveries."

Energoatom, which operates Russia's nuclear power plants, and Westinghouse have been working together since 2000 under an initiative to use U.S. nuclear fuel in the Ukraine. TASS said Westinghouse and Ukrainian officials reached an agreement in 2014 that extended their existing contract through 2020.

At this time, Westinghouse fuel is utilized in the third reactor of the South Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant as part of a pilot program.

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