The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has decided to participate in a comprehensive safety upgrade programme for the operating nuclear power units of Ukraine with a €300 million loan. The programme will bring the fleet of Ukraine’s nuclear power plants in line with international safety standards, including those of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The largest loan-funded nuclear safety project for the EBRD to date will, depending on reactor type, include up to 87 safety measures addressing design safety issues comprising the replacement of equipment in safety relevant systems, improvements of instrumentation and control for safety relevant systems and the introduction of organisational improvements for accident management.
Euratom, the European Atomic Energy Community, will provide €300 million towards the total cost of the programme, which is estimated at €1.4 billion. It is an evolving programme which can incorporate new measures to address additional issues should they arise to improve the safety of the power units. The upgrade is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2017.
Riccardo Puliti, EBRD Managing Director, Energy and Natural Resources, said: “With its contribution to this vital programme the EBRD does not only play a crucial role in the implementation of the safety upgrade, but also exercises its responsibility as a committed long-term partner of Ukraine. Our engagement is in line with the Bank’s energy policy to support the safety of operating nuclear units with our investments.”
Ukraine’s state-owned company Energoatom currently operates 15 nuclear power units at four sites across the country. Two of these reactors – Khmelnitsky 2 and Rivne 4 – have already been modernised with support by the EBRD and Euratom. Building on this successful project the current upgrade is designed to strengthen the safety of nuclear power generation which accounts for almost half of the country’s electricity output. Mr Puliti added: “While the EBRD proactively supports the reduction of the energy intensity of Ukraine’s economy and the development of renewables, we also acknowledge the important role that nuclear power still plays in the energy mix of the country. It is therefore necessary that these units be made as safe as possible.”
Besides the safety measures, the project will promote reforms in the nuclear energy sector in Ukraine, strengthen the independence and funding of the nuclear regulatory authority and improve its decommissioning and waste management programmes. As a result Energoatom will also improve its transparency, corporate governance and establish new environmental standards.
All contracts under the project financed by the EBRD and Euratom will be procured as open tenders in strict compliance with the EBRD's Procurement Policies and Rules, thus providing equal opportunities for eligible bidders and contributing to the transparency of the programme.
The project is supported by a significant technical cooperation component. Necessary ecological assessments were funded by the EBRD, while the nuclear safety evaluation, performed by RISKAUDIT, was financed by the European Commission.
The EBRD is the largest financial investor in Ukraine. As of 1 January 2013 the Bank had committed over €8.2 billion (US$ 10.7 billion) through 318 projects in Ukraine.