US-Ukraine partnership to help Ukraine diversify its energy sources

The 25th Anniversary of U.S. – Ukrainian Diplomatic Relations — Projects That Change Ukraine

Posted by: Department of Energy Office, Kyiv, Ukraine

Читати українською

Efforts to provide Ukraine with a nuclear fuel alternative to Russia’s TVEL – which had been a monopoly provider of VVER-1000 nuclear fuel – began in 1998 with the initiation of the Ukraine Nuclear Fuel Qualification Project (UNFQP).  The U.S. launched the project in response to Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma’s decision to cancel the sale of Turboatom-produced turbines for Iran’s Bushehr NPP in 1998.  The UNFQP thereby expanded the U.S.-Ukraine nonproliferation partnership to include the enhancement of energy security for Ukraine.

Westinghouse fuel assembles as stored before loading at Zaporyzhya NPP
Westinghouse fuel assembles as stored before loading at Zaporyzhya NPP

The U.S. Government, through close cooperation between the Department of Energy and Department of State, contributed more than $70 million in Freedom Support Act funding to the UNFQP to develop a robust nuclear fuel technology base in Ukraine and to diversify Ukraine’s nuclear energy supply.  Initially, the effort involved sharing technology and expertise in nuclear fuel design, reactor fuel design, and fuel and core licensing with Ukraine’s Center for Reactor Core Design in Kharkiv.  It then expanded with the competitive selection of Westinghouse to design, fabricate, and deliver six fuel lead test assemblies.  Ukraine’s nuclear regulator reviewed and approved the loading and operation of the fuel in Ukraine’s reactors, and the fuel successfully performed four cycles at Unit 3 of the South Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant (SUNPP) from 2005-2009.

AP Photo/Keith Srakocic
AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

Westinghouse subsequently designed, fabricated, and delivered a reload batch with Ukraine-provided uranium, which received approvals from Ukrainian regulators and began operation in 2010.  Following a period with several challenges, Westinghouse and Energoatom agreed Westinghouse would modify its fuel for future use, and after testing at Westinghouse, the Ukrainian nuclear regulator approved the modified fuel in 2014 for expanded deployment.  Following this approval, Energoatom signed a contract in December 2014 for a significant expansion in fuel provision. Westinghouse fuel is now in use at South Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant and Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant. Energoatom envisions using Westinghouse fuel at six of the country’s 15 reactors by the end of 2017.

This project singlehandedly delivered an alternative fuel provider to Russia’s TVEL, which has significantly enhanced Ukraine’s energy security and in turn its self-determination.

Zhulyany’s New Nuclear Detection System: Protecting Ukraine from Radioactive Threats

Posted by: Laura Smiley, U.S. Department of Energy

Читати українською

A Representative of Ukraine’s Border Guard, General  Karas (right) greets DCM Bruce Donahue (2nd from left) as well as DOE Staff Kateryna Kamchatna (left) and Arina Kovalenko (3rd from left)
A Representative of Ukraine’s Border Guard, General Karas (right) greets DCM Bruce Donahue (2nd from left) as well as DOE Staff Kateryna Kamchatna (left) and Arina Kovalenko (3rd from left)

The U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Second Line of Defense (SLD) program marked another milestone in Ukraine on October 30, 2013.  A radioactive portal monitoring system was installed by SLD at Zhulyani International Airport – the second busiest airport in Ukraine, and key participants from NNSA, the U.S. Embassy, the Ukrainian Border Guards, and the Airport Administration came together to celebrate the new equipment with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

General Karas speaks while DCM Donahue, SLD Country Manager Andrew Vogt , and DOE Program Coordinator Arina Kovalenko stand by
General Karas speaks while DCM Donahue, SLD Country Manager Andrew Vogt , and DOE Program Coordinator Arina Kovalenko stand by

The ceremony, which was held in the beautiful, new Terminal A building at Zhulyani, was attended by U.S. Embassy Kyiv’s Deputy Chief of Mission, Bruce Donahue, the Ukraine Border Guard Service First Deputy Director of the International Legal Department, General  Volodymyr Karas, NNSA Ukraine SLD manager, Andrew Vogt, DOE Kyiv staff, and many others.

General Karas and Bruce Donahue gave speeches complimenting NNSA on more than 50 successful installations of SLD equipment, the latest of which was the system of portal monitors at Zhulyani.  DCM Donahue also pointed out that the SLD program was responsible for equipping regional training centers in Ukraine.

General Karas and DCM Donahue cut the ribbon on the SLD installation in the new international terminal at Zhulyani Airport in Kyiv
General Karas and DCM Donahue cut the ribbon on the SLD installation in the new international terminal at Zhulyani Airport in Kyiv

Together, DCM Donahue and General Karas cut the ribbon surrounding the portal monitors for the terminal.  The Border Guard then demonstrated the system when that first “traveler” crossed the threshold of the airport with a radiological source in his bag.  While lights flashed and alarms blared, the Border Guards detained the actor and demonstrated the effectiveness of both the monitors and the hand-held devices.

The Border Guard detains a “suspect” after the system alarms
The Border Guard detains a “suspect” after the system alarms
New Portal Monitors at Zhulyani International Airport
New Portal Monitors at Zhulyani International Airport

This ribbon-cutting event served to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Cooperative Threat Reduction program in Ukraine, signed on October 23, 1993. The SLD program has been implemented under the CTR Umbrella Agreement since 2005.

IMG_0493During the event DCM Bruce Donahue recognized the most recent accomplishments in the cooperative effort in combating the threat of nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism and congratulated everyone on the success of this challenging task.  The Border Guard presented the U.S. personnel and Airport Administration with plaques honoring their contributions to the success of border security in Ukraine.