In 2019, Ukraine will become the first country to have a fully-operational Consolidated Interim Storage facility (in the north of the country in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone). Used fuel from the country’s nine VVER reactors (Rivne, Khmelnitsky, and South Ukraine) operated by the national utility NAEK Energoatom will be packaged in all-welded multi-purpose canisters and transported to the Country’s centralized fuel storage facility in lieu of being shipped to Russia at a huge annual (recurring) cost to Ukraine’s treasury (some $200 million). A major milestone was reached last week when twelve specialists from Energoatom and the country’s regulatory authority bore down on Holtec’s manufacturing plants in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New Jersey, where the capital equipment and systems for the project are being fabricated. In particular, the Company’s latest plant in Camden, NJ, called Advanced Manufacturing Division (AMD) is slated to fabricate the largest weldments for convenient sea-borne shipment. The Ukrainian audit team was led by the Energoatom’s Project Director Oleksandr Rybchuk under the executive oversight of the Company’s President, Mr. Yuriy Nedashkovsky. After an exhaustive week of inspection of the project management, quality assurance, and manufacturing controls, the assessment team expressed unequivocal satisfaction with Holtec’s programs, procedures, and practices succinctly captured by Director Rybchuk statement at the exit meeting: “I am very satisfied with the preparedness of all the Holtec manufacturing facilities. They have vast experience in manufacturing of similar equipment under the strict rules of quality assurance program enforced for the manufacturing of the equipment for nuclear applications. I am quite confident that with the demonstrated spirit of cooperation the Holtec and NAEK Energoatom project team will successfully complete the project on schedule.”
In his summary remarks Mr. Nedashkovsky noted “The progress that I have seen in the fabrication marks a new historical point in our relationship. We are not only working successfully on our current project but we are looking ahead for future partnerships.” Energoatom, with the Ukrainian regulator’s authorization, gave full fabrication release of the major equipment to Holtec, paving the way for the Company to accelerate the manufacturing campaign at all three Holtec plants with the commitment to deliver virtually all capital equipment by the year end. With the site construction work slated to be finished in mid-2018, Ukraine’s centralized fuel storage facility (called “CSFSF”) will begin receiving used fuel in 2019. Like EDF’s Sizewell B site, the CSFSF employs a double wall canister design to ensure a significantly extended service life and METAMIC-HT fuel baskets for making the storage casks reject the used fuel’s waste heat efficiently, as well as maintaining nuclear criticality under control. The CSFSF is a post-9/11 facility designed to withstand threats such as a crashing aircraft. Speaking to the assembled team of Energoatom, Holtec and the Ukrainian regulatory establishment representatives, President Nedashkovsky extolled the superb team work and commitment to excellence exhibited by all parties “that has brought us so close to establishing the most robust and state-of-the-art VVER fuel storage facility in our country in record time.”
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