In a ceremony on September 17, 2007 in Kiev, Ukraine, presided by President of Ukraine Victor Yushchenko, General Director of the Chernobyl Specialized State Enterprise, Igor Gramotkin and Holtec’s President and CEO, Dr. Kris Singh, signed the Contract documents that bind Holtec and the Ukrainian government to complete the interment of Chernobyl’s used nuclear fuel in dry storage systems in full conformance with Ukraine’s national safety standards. The project was started under an interim authorization-to-proceed on August 3, 2007; the contract signed on September 17, which is backed by a full endorsement from the Assembly of Donors, places the project on a solid path to completion. Removing the radioactive fuel from the three Chernobyl reactors is essential to the start of decommissioning of the three undamaged reactor units that is a part of the agreement between the Government of Ukraine and the Donor countries (countries of Western Europe, U.S. and Japan). Holtec will complete the dry storage project, begun in 1999 by another contractor, and plans to use as much of the previous accomplishments on the project as is feasible with the protection of public health and safety as the overriding criteria.
Ukraine’s regulations for the dry storage of used nuclear fuel require that all of its used fuel be dried of virtually all moisture and placed in double-wall containers of supreme physical integrity to guarantee that any radiological release at the storage site to the environment is highly improbable. Speaking at the press conference after the contract signing, Dr. Kris Singh emphasized public safety as a paramount consideration declaring “We endorse Ukraine’s regulatory criteria for storing used nuclear fuel to protect public health and safety which are amongst the most stringent in the world. We consider Ukraine’s strict regulations as our silent allies in enhancing the public’s confidence in the safety and ruggedness of nuclear power here in Ukraine and around the world.”
Holtec International is a U.S.-based diversified energy technology company with global operations on four continents. The company is currently carrying out used nuclear fuel management projects similar to Chernobyl’s at numerous plants in the U.S., Spain, Switzerland, China, and Korea. The Central Spent Fuel Storage Project for Ukraine’s VVER reactors is also being implemented by Holtec International under a separate contract with NAEK Energoatom. Holtec has established a regional operations center in Kiev to facilitate the development of local technical know-how inside the country for serving domestic and overseas markets.