The Ministry of Energy and Industry of Ukraine recently published a draft 'Nuclear codex', which provides for the construction of two nuclear power plants.
Ukraine and Russian nuclear fuel maker TVEL last year agreed to build a nuclear fuel plant at a site in Smoline (Kirovohrad region), as a joint venture in which Ukraine holds 51% of the shares. Launch is scheduled for September 2015. The cost of the plant has been estimated at $370 million (€273 million).
But according to the codex, Ukraine also plans a second nuclear fuel plant, with the US firm Westinghouse Electric as a partner. This would also give Ukraine leverage for obtaining better prices and conditions with its Russian partners, commentators said.
The Ukraine ministry's codex speaks about adapting the country's legislation with the EU and of introducing energy diversification. According to experts quoted by the Russian daily Kommersant, the draft codex needs to be supplemented with additional legal provisions, but it makes it plain that Ukraine will receive nuclear fuel from two or more sources.
In 2010, TVEL, a Russian nuclear fuel cycle company headquartered in Moscow, sold Ukraine nuclear fuel for $608 million (€449 million). Ukraine is TVEL's biggest client, totaling 54.9% of its exports.
Russia has warned that using Westinghouse fuel in Russian-built centrals was hazardous. Nevertheless, Ukraine's State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate recently allowed testing nuclear fuel produced by Westinghouse into the second unit of Yuzhnoukrainsk nuclear power plant, on the condition that certain requirements are observed.
Consequently, Westinghouse launched commercial shipments of nuclear fuel to Ukraine under a contract with Energoatom, Kyiv Post reported.
In 2011, it is to supply three batches of fuel, including 42 fuel rod arrays each, which are to be loaded into the second and third reactors at Yuzhnoukrainsk NPP and the fifth reactor of Zaporizhia NPP.
The fifth reactor of Zaporizhia NPP will be loaded with the fuel in 2012, in keeping with the maintenance and repairs schedule.