Groundbreaking Ceremony to Construct Ukraine’s Central Storage Facility Highlights the Nation’s View of Nuclear as an Indispensable Clean Energy Source

On November 9, 2017, Ukraine’s national nuclear operator, NAEK Energoatom, led by its perspicacious President, Yuri Nedashkovsky, hosted the groundbreaking ceremony for the site construction of the Central Spent Fuel Storage Facility (CSFSF). The ceremony was inaugurated by Ukraine’s Vice Prime Minister Volodynyr Kistion, and attended by hundreds of stakeholders, including people from the local region, ministers from the national government, executive management from the country’s nuclear regulator, the US ambassador to Ukraine, and many elites of the nation’s energy establishment. In their brief remarks Vice Prime Minister Kistion, Energy Minister Ihor Nasalyk, and Secretary of the Parliamentary Committee for Fuel and Energy, Viktoria Voytsitska, all spoke of the vital role of the country’s nuclear fleet as the anchor for the nation’s energy security and economic growth. US Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch called the CSFSF a “strategic asset” for the country, and a tangible evidence of America’s solidarity with Ukraine. The billions of dollars in future savings to Ukraine’s treasury was also noted by the various speakers.

NAEK Energoatom President, Yuri Nedashkovsky addressing the gathering.

US and Ukraine flags flew side-by-side in the crisp autumn air at the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone site as President Nedashkovsky thanked America for its support and hailed the quality of technology and project management being provided by Holtec International. Holtec’s CEO Dr. Kris Singh noted the expeditious manner in which the CSFSF project is being implemented, reflecting the unity of purpose within the Ukrainian government. He observed “the completion of this project in 2019 will make Ukraine the world leader in consolidating storage of used fuel . . . we in America are at least two years behind you.”

The CSFSF typifies Ukraine’s national consensus to grow indigenous nuclear generation and resource management capacity, and to free the country from undue reliance on others in the crucially important nuclear sector. Each speaker noted the vital importance of the CSFSF to Ukraine’s national energy security.

Ceremonial shovels in the ground.

A truly satisfying aspect of the ceremony was the enthusiastic welcome of the CSFSF from the local region’s administrative leadership, which held a special meeting for Energoatom’s top officials and Dr. Singh. Mr. Maksim Lysogor, speaking for the local community at the meeting, lauded the CSFSF’s superb safety & security credentials, along with the profound and positive economic impact that it will have in creating well-paying jobs in the region.

Ukraine’s CSFSF will store fuel in all-welded stainless-steel canisters with double wall construction for utmost safety (Holtec Patent: US 8,929,504 B2). The double wall canisters will be packaged at the country’s operating nuclear units and brought over to the site in HI-STAR 190 universal transport casks which have been licensed by both the US and Ukraine’s regulator. The occupational dose to the workers will be minimized by a heavily shielded subterranean Canister Transfer Facility (Holtec Patent US 7,139,358 B2 & Pending Patent US2015/0357066 A1) where the double wall canister will be retrieved from the transport cask and loaded into the HI-STORM 190 vertical ventilated modules. The HI-STORM 190 modules are engineered to safely store the loaded canisters allowing only minuscule radiation dose to the environment. The buttressed steel and concrete overpack of the HI-STORM 190 is fortified with impregnable structural defenses to withstand crashing aircraft and other potential threats without releasing any radioactive matter to the environment. We are proud to observe that upon entering service in 2019, Ukraine’s CSFSF will be a world class fortress for protecting public health and safety.

Portions of the proceedings of the groundbreaking ceremony may be viewed by watching this video (spoken in Ukraine).

Media Files: HH 32.26

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.