Energoatom and Holtec Launch Long Stalled Ukraine’s Central Spent Fuel Storage Facility Project

On January 26, 2015, the President of National Nuclear Energy Generating Company of Ukraine (“Energoatom”), Mr. Yuriy Nedashkovsky, and Holtec International’s (Holtec) President and CEO, Dr. Kris Singh, signed the recently updated contract for the Central Spent Fuel Storage Facility (CSFSF) in a ceremony held at Energoatom’s EU Office in Brussels, Belgium.

Picture1Dr. Kris Singh (left) and Mr. Yuriy Nedashkovsky (right)
at the Contract Signing Ceremony

In 2005, Holtec was initially awarded the “Ukraine Central Spent Fuel Storage Facility Project Contract” through a competitive international tender; however, the project soon fell into dormancy and remained stalled for almost nine years for various reasons. However, the project’s fortunes changed dramatically after a new Ukrainian government came into power during early 2014, and mandated that the CSFSF project receive the national priority its strategic energy and financial imperatives deserve. Energoatom and Holtec worked diligently for the past ten months to update the Contract and joint efforts of the two companies’ resulted in reviving the project’s implementation.

Upon this project’s completion, Ukraine will boast the world’s first consolidated interim storage facility (called the “CSFSF”) utilizing the multi-purpose canister (MPC) technology for storing nuclear fuel from the country’s nine Russian-origin reactors called “VVERs”. Originally developed in the US some twenty years ago to serve as an impregnable confinement device for radioactive materials, the MPC technology is now used at virtually all US and numerous overseas nuclear units. Holtec has further hardened the MPC for use in Ukraine, at the behest of the country’s regulator, by incorporating an all-welded double wall construction (also being used in Holtec’s dry storage project in the United Kingdom).

Under the updated contract, Holtec will supply its state of the art HI-STORM 190 FW storage system, HI-STAR 190 universal transport casks, and a defined list of ancillary equipment to load, dehydrate, and weld the double wall MPCs at each operating plant site, safely transport them in the HI-STAR 190 transport casks to the Central Storage Facility and place them in the HI-STORM 190 FW vertical ventilated systems for 100 years of safe storage. Energoatom is in-charge of the facility construction for the storage facility.

The project has a total duration of six years, and will be implemented in four (4) stages, with the first stage completed in 2018 and the final demobilization occurring by January 2021.

The text below is re-produced from Energoatom’s press release

“We also want to emphasize that the CSFSF will contain spent nuclear fuel exclusively from Ukrainian Nuclear Power Plants (it is not envisioned to store any spent fuel from foreign reactors at the Ukrainian storage facility, and, moreover, such storage contradicts IAEA requirements and requirements of Laws of Ukraine).  Presently, Ukraine’s Nuclear Power Plants generate more than 50% of the total electricity produced in the country and thus establishing the appropriate conditions for long-term safe storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel (SNF) is Ukraine’s strategic priority for the energy sector. This long-term safe storage will enable us to fulfill the international commitment of ensuring a country with nuclear power shall be ultimately responsible for the safe management of its spent nuclear fuel, produced by its nuclear power plants.

Furthermore, when constructed, the CSFSF will eliminate a problem with spent fuel removal (Ukraine presently exports more than half of its spent nuclear fuel to Russia for technological storage with further reprocessing). The estimated costs of the construction and operation of the CSFSF are expected to be four times less than the total costs, which Ukraine now pays to transport its spent nuclear fuel to Russia; the investment into the facility will be paid off in less than four years of operation.

According to the general designer, the CSFSF will have no harmful environment impact in general, and particularly for the groundwater, even if a beyond design basis accident would take place. In fact, as specified by the design, the “dry” storage technology will store the SNF in a noble gas medium, within double-wall stainless steel containers which are loaded into protective concrete modules located on a special pad. These protective modules are designed to provide physical protection of spent fuel, biological shielding against radiation, and passive heat removal during fuel storage. The strength of the structures of the system was tested in simulated situations of fire, explosion, earthquake, and even during an aircraft crash.

The construction and subsequent operation of the CSFSF will contribute to the environmental rehabilitation of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, and ultimately facilitate a renewed and thriving economic activity to this area.”

Energoatom’s President, Yuriy Nedashkovsky hailed Holtec’s participation in the project, stating, “We are looking forward to deploying Holtec’s state-of-the-art technology for storage and transport of Ukraine’s VVER-440 and VVER-1000 used reactor fuel that is vital for our energy security”. Also speaking at the contract signing ceremony, Holtec President & CEO, Dr. Kris Singh, promised to provide “the best in fuel storage technology to Ukraine and to serve as a committed partner during the implementation of this vital project for Ukraine.”

Media Files: HH 30.02

Written by Amy Grant

Amy Grant is a graphic designer and web developer. She is the founder of the Southwark Historical Society, a volunteer based group that studies the Southwark Historical District located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.