Westinghouse says nuclear fuel ‘fully compatible’ with Ukrainian reactors

An assertion that Westinghouse fuel is incompatible with Ukrainian nuclear power plants have been dismissed by the US company.

A Russian entity had claimed that Soviet-made Ukrainian reactors could not facilitate the fuel. However Hans Korteweg, spokesperson for Westinghouse told Power Engineering International that there was no credence to the claim.

Mr Korteweg said, “Westinghouse fuel has been proven to be fully compatible with the reactors in Ukraine (we currently have fuel in operation at the South Ukraine NPP). There were some very immediate and premature conclusions a year ago which erroneously identified the Westinghouse fuel as having loading issues in South Ukraine. Please be clear, there were never any operational issues once the fuel was inserted. This has always been a loading problem and not a design issue coming from the Westinghouse fuel. These loading problems were associated with the TVEL fuel design performance.”

The Czech Republic stopped purchasing Westinghouse elements after similar problems at Temelin, according to the Ria Novosti website.

However, the spokesperson added, “Westinghouse did provide the initial fuel to Temelin Units 1 and 2 and while we absolutely had issues with that design more than ten years ago, we corrected them.”

The Russia-based International Union of Atomic Energy and Industry Veterans has warned that US technical standards do not allow Ukrainian Soviet-made reactors to use its fuel.

The body was quoted in RIA Novosti in relation to the Energoatom-Westinghouse contract for the US purchase of nuclear fuel. They say that violating the rules in this way could cause accidents comparable with the Chernobyl disaster.

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