Westinghouse and ENUSA To Cooperate On VVER-440 Fuel Fabrication

Westinghouse Electric Company and ENUSA (both ENS Corporate Members) announced during the World Nuclear Symposium their intent to collaborate on VVER-440 fuel fabrication.

There are currently 16 nuclear reactors in Europe operating with VVER-440 fuel and utilities in the region are actively looking for alternatives to Russian-supplied fuel.

Westinghouse and ENUSA have partnered since 1974 under a Pressurized-Water Reactor (PWR) fuel technology transfer agreement in support of nuclear plants in Spain, Belgium, and France among others.

Through the Westinghouse-ENUSA partnership, nearly 750 VVER-440 fuel assemblies were delivered to the Loviisa Nuclear Plant in Finland between 2002 and 2007. The companies also collaborated on the European Supply of Safe Nuclear Fuel (ESSANUF) HORIZON 2020 project from 2015 to 2017.

Read the full Westinghouse Press Release.

The importance of the diversification of nuclear fuel suppliers has been often underlined by the Euratom Supply Agency (ENS member) which reminded that diversification is paramount to prevent excessive dependence of EU users on any single third-country supplier and to achieve security of supply of nuclear fuels in the medium and long term.

According to ESA, around 10% of EU gross nuclear electricity capacity is fully dependent on supply of Russian fuel. These concern operators in BulgariaCzech RepublicHungary and Slovakia and one operator (out of two) in Finland.

While an alternative fuel design for Russian-made VVER-1000 reactors already exists and is employed (e.g. in Ukraine, Czech Republic, Bulgaria), the VVER-440 reactors are fully dependent on Russian fuel assemblies at the moment. The concerned utilities have fresh fuel in their stock and could operate for 1-2 years.

ENS, together with Euratom Supply Agency, focused on nuclear fuel supply chains and production in Europe in the article “Eastern Europe And The Future Of Nuclear Fuel Supply” and in the interview with Euratom Supply Agency Director General, Agnieszka Kazmierczak.