The EBRD is supporting the upgrade of Ukraine’s nuclear power plants to bring operating nuclear reactors in line with international standards.
The programme, backed by a €300 million EBRD loan, includes a comprehensive set of measures according to reactor type and will bring the country’s operating nuclear reactors in line both with international standards and local regulations. The upgrade will cost €1.4 billion in total, of which Euratom will contribute another €300 million, and is scheduled for completion by end-2017.
Ukraine currently has 15 nuclear power units at four nuclear power plants with a total capacity of 13,835 megawatts (electrical) operated by the full state-owned generating company Energoatom. Nuclear power is a major provider of energy in the country, representing 45.5 per cent of total electricity production in 2012. Thermal generators and combined heat and power plants contributed 48.7 per cent and hydropower plants the remaining 5.8 per cent.
Given Ukraine’s dependence on imports of oil and gas and the country’s high energy intensity, which is three times higher than the European average, Ukraine is in the process of reviewing its energy strategy. Despite strong efforts to increase energy efficiency and raise investments in renewable sources of energy, nuclear power will retain a crucial role.
It is of the utmost importance that the nuclear units are working to the highest, internationally recognised standards, as nuclear safety is clearly an issue that transcends borders. All 15 nuclear units in Ukraine are of a similar design (VVER 1000 and VVER 440/213), which are in operation in some EU member states, and the safety level of the units can be upgraded to reach internationally accepted standards.
Depending on the reactor type the upgrade will include up to 87 safety measures which will address design safety issues, improved instrumentation and control for safety relevant systems and organisational improvements for accident management.
The programme is evolving and will add measures if and when new issues are identified, in particular as a result of EU stress tests, in which Ukraine participated on a voluntary basis, following the Fukushima accident. The upgrade will improve safety, reduce the probability of severe accidents and thus reduce the risks for workers, the local population and the environment.
Work contracts will be awarded on a competitive basis and in a transparent way to guarantee best value and cost-efficiency. All EBRD- and Euratom-financed contracts will be procured by open tender in compliance with the Bank’s Procurement Policies and Rules. Under the agreement Ukraine also commits itself to maintain and strengthen the role of the independent nuclear regulator (SNRIU).
The EBRD loan follows the successful cooperation between the Bank, Euratom and Ukraine to improve safety in the then-just-completed Khmelnitsky 2/Rivne 4 nuclear power plant units between 2004 and 2009 which were the first units in Ukraine to be modernised towards reaching internationally accepted safety standards. The wider upgrade programme, which the EBRD and Euratom are now joining, will ensure that the remaining units are also brought to this level.
View Project Summary Document: Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant Safety Upgrade