The Minister of Energy and Coal Mining of Ukraine Igor Nasalik claimed that Ukraine is considering the possibility to load 40% of the nuclear plant reactor units with the fuel assemblies by Westinghouse, The Eurasia Daily news agency informed on October 22nd.
“At the current moment we are considering the program aimed at the loading of 40% of the Ukrainian nuclear reactor units with the nuclear fuel of Westinghouse,“ the Minister stated. In August of this year, Nasalik said that Westinghouse would supply the nuclear fuel for 6 out of 15 reactor units of the Ukrainian nuclear power plants instead of the Russian supplier – TVEL nuclear fuel cycle company. The first, second, third and forth reactor units of the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant, as well as the second and third reactor units of the South Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant will be loaded with the American fuel assemblies.
In 2015, almost all nuclear fuel was supplied to Ukraine by Russia. This year, Ukraine is going to buy around one-third of the fuel assemblies for the nuclear power plants of Ukraine from the American Westinghouse as a part of the nuclear fuel supply diversification program. The American nuclear fuel already caused a lot of problems at the plants and raised the dissatisfaction among the engineering staff of the Ukrainian nuclear plants. In May 2016, Forbes magazine openly called the competition between the USA and Russia for Eastern Europe nuclear market “a thermonuclear reactor war that mainly pits Westinghouse Electric (WEC) against Russian Rosatom” and “an extremely costly energy game the U.S. is trying desperately to win”. Despite all the possible consequences, Kiev junta continue to adhere to the program approved by the Americans.
In 2011 Ukraine already used nuclear fuel assemblies produced by Westinghouse. It was discovered during a planned inspection of Zaporozhye and South Ukraine nuclear power plants that the structural units of Westinghouse fuel assemblies began to disintegrate. The power plants had to be immediately stopped for a full inspection, which showed that while Russian-made fuel assemblies were intact, all Westinghouse fuel assemblies were significantly damaged. Nuclear disaster in that year was averted by accident. In 2012 Ukraine banned import and use of Westinghouse nuclear fuel assemblies. The reason for this is that American fuel assemblies are not compatible with Soviet-made Ukrainian reactors.