Outcomes of the international conference «Nuclear capabilities for the country’s development»
On November 22, 2021, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of SE NNEGC «Energoatom», the international conference «Nuclear capabilities for the country’s development» was held in Kyiv hosted by SE NNEGC «Energoatom» and the NGO «Ukrainian Nuclear Society».
During the conference, a wide range of issues related to the development of nuclear industry in Ukraine and across the globe as well as its importance in achieving the main goals of decarbonization and sustainable development was discussed.
The forum was attended by long-term partners of Energoatom from Ukraine and abroad, heads of diplomatic missions of the USA, France, Great Britain, leading industry experts, trade union leaders, scientists, representatives of ministries and departments, etc. The heads of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the World Association of Operators (WANO) addressed the participants with video appeals. In total 250 guests were in attendance.
Signing of agreements between Energoatom and Westinghouse
One of the main events of the conference was the signing of two agreements between Energoatom and the US vendor Westinghouse on cooperation and construction of new nuclear power units at the Khmelnytskyy NPP site.
As a reminder, in late summer, on August 31, 2021, during the visit of the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy to the United States and in his personal presence, Energoatom signed a Memorandum with Westinghouse on the construction of five nuclear power units in Ukraine. In recent months, we have conducted dozens of rounds of talks with the American side and have done a huge amount of work in this direction.
Solemn signing of agreements between Energoatom and Westinghouse, Kyiv, November 22, 2021.
Based on the results of this work, the parties prepared and during the conference signed bilateral agreements on the implementation of the project of construction of two new power units at Khmelnytskyy NPP using AP1000 technology – «On the provision of engineering services for the AP1000 project at Khmelnytskyy NPP» and «On the procurement of a simulator and long-lead equipment for the AP1000 project at Khmelnytskyy NPP».
The above-mentioned power units will be built, as they say, from scratch on the site of Khmelnytskyy NPP next to the uncompleted power units 3 and 4. The main source of financing for the project is expected to be a long-term loan from the US Eximbank.
Both agreements were solemnly signed by Energoatom head Petro Kotin and Westinghouse President and CEO Patrick Fragman in the presence of Ukrainian Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko and US Charge d'Affaires to Ukraine Kristina Kvien.
According to NNEGC head Petro Kotin, the signing of important agreements with American partners opens a new stage in the development of nuclear energy sector not only in Ukraine.
«Ukraine is becoming the driving force that will pave the way for Europe to carbon neutrality,» Mr. Kotin is convinced. «Energoatom, in cooperation with our American partners, is ready to make the green transition to clean and affordable energy».
After signing the contract: (from left to right) Patrick Fragman, Kristina Kvien, Herman Halushchenko and Petro Kotin
The Ukrainian Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko stressed that the joint work with the US company involves not only the construction of two power units at KhNPP. There is an agreement in principle with the US government to help build a much larger number of new nuclear facilities. «In September, we signed a Memorandum of cooperation with Westinghouse in Washington, while in November we’re signing relevant agreements on the construction of units at the Khmelnytskyy NPP,» he said. «I am certain that we will move just as quickly towards the implementation of these agreements.»
According to Mr. Halushchenko, the state considers nuclear energy to be the basis of the country's energy, and there are broad prospects ahead in the implementation of knowledge-intensive and ambitious projects, which the industrial history of Ukraine has not yet known.
US Charge d'Affaires to Ukraine Kristina Kvien, addressing the participants and guests of the conference, stressed that this event would be a milestone in the cooperation of long-standing partners and a remarkable day for the entire nuclear energy sector of Ukraine.
According to Ms. Kvien, Ukraine will be able to achieve an even higher level of «green» energy given that Energoatom’s cooperation with Westinghouse aims to the future: «Westinghouse is an ideal partner for Energoatom as Ukraine moves forward in modernizing its nuclear fleet. After all, nuclear sector is a vital importance to Ukraine’s security». In turn, Westinghouse CEO Patrick Fragman (pictured above – left) noted that Ukraine has about half of electricity generated from nuclear power while Westinghouse is supplying close to half of the fuel for Ukrainian nuclear power plants.
Patrick Fragman's (right) report on the prospects for the development of nuclear energy
«We are looking for the AP1000 reactors to appear here,» Mr Fragman said. «Ukraine is facing a large number of challenges in nuclear energy and should gradually decommission Russian-type reactors and build new plants. We can help develop carbon-free technologies and maintain high standards of nuclear safety.»
AP1000 reactors have a capacity of 1100 MW and belong to the innovative Gen III+ developments with the cutting-edge active and passive safety systems. The advantage of these reactors is a high installed capacity utilization factor – 93% and an extended fuel cycle – 18 months. Given the reactor consists of 50 large and 250 small modules, this reduces cost and shortens construction time.
One of the most important advantages of the AP1000, among other things, is the presence of additional drives of reactor control and safety systems, due to which the reactor can operate in the load following modes in the range from 20% to 100% load.
Ukraine's urge to achieve climate neutrality through the development of its own nuclear generation was fully supported by the esteemed heads of diplomatic missions of the United States, France and Great Britain in Ukraine Kristina Kvien, Etienne de Poncins and Nicolas Harrocks.
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of France to Ukraine Etienne de Poncins emphasized the general growing interest of the world countries in nuclear energy, which became apparent during the climate change conference in Glasgow.
«The French and Ukrainian nuclear industries will need massive investments in order to maintain a good level of nuclear safety of the existing units and also to build new ones,» said the Ambassador. According to him, today France and Ukraine share common goals and challenges to ensure the energy independence, which requires deepening further cooperation.
The Deputy Ambassador of the United Kingdom to Ukraine Nicolas Harrocks believes that nuclear energy in his country and in Ukraine is quite similar – both in scale (15 reactors operating in both countries) and in the rich history of technology and nuclear programs.
«Like Ukraine, we understand the benefits of nuclear engineering for the safe use of our nuclear power plants,» Mr. Harrocks said. He thanked Energoatom for its cooperation with UK companies and expressed hope for further fruitful and successful cooperation.
The conference attendees also heard kind words of support in a video address by IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi, who reaffirmed the IAEA's commitment to work with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and Ukrainian authorities.
«Together we will collaborate on safe and cost effective solutions to decommissioning the Chornobyl NPP and managing radioactive waste in the Exclusion Zone,» assured Mr. Grossi.
The CEO of the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) Ingemar Engkvist In his video address expressed his conviction that Ukraine has all the conditions and prerequisites to progress on the way to nuclear generation excellence.
Mr. Engkuist reminded of the joint commitment of NPP operators to support each other so that by 2030, we will see an industry which is even more healthy than it is today. «The operators should lead the safety development. Should not be regulators, not governments, not public or media. We as an industry should lead», he is convinced.
Conference attendees were shown the corporate film «Energoatom – 25 years of clean energy of the future»
Energoatom head Petro Kotin acquainted the audience with the Ukraine's nuclear energy plans for the next two decades. «Plans for the construction of new power units: our goal is 24 GW of nuclear capacity by 2040. We are going to do it by our specialists efforts, as well as with the help of international partners,» he said.
Mr. Kotin stressed that the economic benefits of the construction of one power unit during its operation increases GDP by $ 25 billion. Other significant benefits include the creation of 8,000 additional jobs during the construction phase and 50,000 jobs during the life cycle of one unit.
Former Ambassador of Ukraine to the United States Olexander Motsyk (left) and Energoatom head Petro Kotin
According to Energoatom head, the cost of building one power unit is about $ 5 billion, the term is about five years. In total, to date the Company's investment program for the construction of five new units is $ 30 billion.
It is important that the existing technical potential of the Ukrainian nuclear industrial complex enables domestic enterprises to provide new construction with the necessary equipment, materials and services. Their share in the project can reach 60%.
Ambitious plans and great prospects for the renewal of the nuclear fleet and the development of the Ukrainian nuclear industry will have a long-term effect on the country. «As early as next year Energoatom will start the largest construction in the country. Its implementation will help provide the state with clean and affordable energy over the coming decades, as well as create a significant macroeconomic effect, which will stimulate the growth of the domestic economy and industry,» said Mr. Kotin.
In turn, the president of the Ukrainian Nuclear Society Volodymyr Bronnikov noted that Ukraine is almost the only country in Europe that has launched three nuclear power units since 1991 (the last ones were 17 years ago). After the Chornobyl accident, confidence in the peaceful atom has shaken sharply, and countries have massively curtailed the construction of new power units. Ukraine has put a moratorium on the construction of new nuclear facilities, resulting in several sites with uncompleted units in the country. However, the nuclear power workers remained fully responsible for the safe and sustainable operation of nuclear power plants.
«The fact that Energoatom has been operating for 25 years without a single severe radiation or nuclear accident is our great achievement and, above all, the contribution of the team – operators, repairmen, as well as builders, installers and all those involved in the construction and operation of nuclear power plants,» Mr. Bronnikov emphasized.
Having analyzed all severe nuclear accidents, Ukrainian nuclear power professionals took the world's best practices and created a training center for repair personnel, which is unrivaled throughout the world, implemented post-Fukushima measures and, most importantly, introduced the concept of safety culture when each NPP employee understands the importance of his work and is sensible of personal responsibility.
«I am convinced that now there is every reason to tell the world that we have a unique experience in both operation and implementation of safety measures and work with personnel, so we can safely offer our opportunities for further development of nuclear industry,» said Volodymyr Bronnikov.
In his opinion, the only thing that can now keep Ukraine among the intellectually and technically developed countries is nuclear energy.
The key message of the speeches at the conference of the heads of the world's leading nuclear companies – Westinghouse, Holtec International, NuScale, EDF, Farmatome, which are reliable partners and longtime friends of Energoatom, was the decarbonization.
At the last climate change conference in Glasgow (UK), more than 40 countries, including Ukraine, agreed to phase out fossil coal for electricity generation.
Currently, more than 200 power units in the world either are under construction or planned for construction. The world recognizes that new energy resources must be based on environmentally friendly energy conversion processes, ensure the sustainable development of the national and global economy as well as be energy-efficient and load following to meet the growing electricity demand.
Ukraine has already made a significant contribution to the global decarbonization. According to Doctor of Science, Deputy Chairman of the Council of Young Scientists of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine Kostiantyn Simeiko, more than 3 billion tons of CO2 emissions have been avoided during the entire period of the operation of Ukrainian nuclear power plants. And now Ukraine is one of the leading countries in the world that plan to build new nuclear facilities.
Vice President of SE NNEGC «Energoatom» Hartmut Jacob spoke at the conference.
Ukraine is at the forefront of power industry of a new level
Summing up the results of the international conference, the head of Energoatom noted that Ukraine can confidently claim a leading position in European nuclear energy, as it has all the components of success: highly qualified experienced specialists, research and development, existing leading training centers. Furthermore, during 25 years of successful work Energoatom has accumulated invaluable experience of safe operation of nuclear facilities and many years of fruitful cooperation with reliable, powerful foreign partners.
«It's not just about local ambitions supported by the signed agreements between Energoatom and Westinghouse. We are talking about European-level leadership,» Mr Kotin said.
Currently, Ukraine is well positioned to be the engine of change in the nuclear sector, which will help Europe achieve carbon neutrality as soon as possible. After all, nuclear energy remains a stable and safe source of carbon-free energy. It will be the bridge that paves the way for the implementation of decarbonization plans in accordance with the decisions taken at the Glasgow climate change conference.
«A new stage in the development of nuclear energy begins for us, it is designed for 2040, when Energoatom and its partners must complete the construction of 14 new nuclear power units in Ukraine,» said the head of NNEGC.
From now on, Ukraine is at the forefront of power industry of a new level, which is included in the global process of energy transition. Petro Kotin is confident that «it is with the support of our foreign partners that we will achieve this goal. We have no other way. This is not just about the economy, but also about safety. After all, energy self-sufficiency and safety are the key to independence and economic growth.»
Energoatom is ready to implement a «green» transition so that in a few decades Ukraine could become a real example of a country with a carbon-free economy.