KYIV, UKRAINE – Officials from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Nuclear Energy today (April 8, 2010) participated in a ceremony in Ukraine to mark the insertion of Westinghouse-produced nuclear fuel into a nuclear power plant in Ukraine. This marked a milestone in the Ukraine Nuclear Fuel Qualification Program, a U.S.-Ukraine cooperative program to help Ukraine to diversify its fuel sources for its nuclear power stations. The Department supported the 10-year effort to produce and qualify the fuel.

“The loading of such a significant volume of Western-fabricated nuclear assemblies into a Ukrainian nuclear power plant marks a significant milestone in the development of reliable and diverse international fuel supply efforts,” said Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy Warren “Pete” Miller. “This milestone allows for further cooperation between the U.S. and Ukraine in civil nuclear energy.”

Forty-two fuel test assemblies were recently loaded into South Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant. Under the Ukraine Nuclear Fuel Qualification Program, the U.S. Government supports testing necessary for Westinghouse to provide nuclear fuel for Soviet-designed VVRE-1000 reactors operating in Ukraine. The Department has managed this project through the Freedom Support Act since its inception in 1998.

In addition to fuel fabrication, U.S. cooperation with Ukraine has included the transfer of U.S. technology to the Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology to assist Ukraine in establishing a more competitive nuclear design and licensing process based on international practices. Today, under the U.S.-Ukraine Strategic Partnership, a bilateral energy security working group focuses on reform in Ukraine’s overall energy sector and a sub-group focuses on civil nuclear energy cooperation.