Westinghouse Electric Company and Ukrainian company NT-Engineering recently agreed to optimize a dozen reactors in Ukraine that will significantly increase the country’s clean power production.
The cooperation is an extension of a successful pilot project supported by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and Argonne National Laboratory to improve the operations and maintenance procedures at one of the country’s VVER 1000 reactors.
A New Approach for Ukraine
Westinghouse and NT-Engineering will work with the country’s nuclear power plant operators to assess the system configurations and maintenance routines of each reactor. The project will then identify services that could be safely performed with the reactor at power to reduce the number of days each unit is offline for maintenance during refueling.
Westinghouse projects the new risk-informed management approach could increase the annual power production of each reactor by an additional 16 to 20 days.
“Westinghouse is committed to continue supporting NT-Engineering in every area of its operations and, through this agreement, optimizing the full Ukrainian VVER fleet as well as VVER units outside of Ukraine,” said Tarik Choho, Westinghouse president, EMEA Operating Plant Services.
Optimizing Power Production
The United States uses a similar approach to maintain and operate more than 90 reactors at full power more than 92% of the time during year. Replicating this process at the 12 VVER 1000 units in Ukraine would be the equivalent of adding an additional reactor to the grid in terms of additional power production.
NT-Engineering previously worked with DOE and Argonne National Laboratory on an outage optimization pilot project earlier this year at the Zaporizhzhia Unit 2 reactor. The demonstration proved the process could be replicated at other VVER-1000 units around the world.
The initial demonstration project was led by DOE’s Office of International Nuclear Energy Policy and Cooperation, which collaborates with international partners to support the safe, secure, peaceful use of nuclear energy.
The office is also recommending a separate outage optimization approach for Ukraine’s two other VVER 440 reactors.