Unit 2 at the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant is expected to significantly increase its annual power production in Ukraine thanks to an international project supported by the U.S. Government. The United States helped implement new maintenance procedures and operations at the reactor that should ultimately strengthen energy security in the country.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) worked with Argonne National Laboratory and Ukrainian company, NT-Engineering, to help Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant and its operator, Energoatom, optimize their maintenance approach at Unit 2. The team assessed the reactor’s system configurations and maintenance routines to identify which services could be safely performed during operation instead of waiting until the reactor was shut down for refueling.
The project also included training for Ukrainian officials and its regulators on the new risk-informed management approach and how this process could be replicated at 12 other VVER 1000 units across the country.
“If this process is replicated at Ukraine’s 12 other VVER 1000 reactors, as Ukraine is now planning to, it will increase the overall power output of Ukraine’s reactor fleet by the equivalent of one new VVER 1000 reactor,” said Igor V. Bodnar, the project manager at Argonne National Laboratory.
Increasing Power Capacity
Ukraine’s 15 reactors generate more than half of the country’s electricity and are crucial assets in securing more energy independence for the country. By optimizing Ukrainian reactor operations and maintenance procedures, the country could significantly increase the number of days the reactors are online producing power.
The United States has been utilizing this and other optimization approaches for decades to operate its reactors more than 92% of the time during the year. By transferring this knowledge to Ukraine, the country could potentially boost their annual nuclear power production by 10%.
Ukrainian regulators approved the new maintenance routine at Zaporizhzhya Unit 2 on an exception basis and allowed Energoatom to perform experimental application with recommendation to adapt project results to other VVER-1000 units.
The project was funded by foreign assistance funds provided by the U.S. State Department and led by DOE’s Office of International Nuclear Energy Policy and Cooperation, which collaborates with international partners to support the safe, secure, and peaceful use of nuclear energy.
The office is recommending a separate outage optimization approach for Ukraine’s two other VVER 440 reactors.