Interview 2022-08-23T04:04:00+03:00
Ukrainian news
Vice President and Managing Director of Westinghouse Aziz Dag: In Case of Force Majeure, We Will Need up to 12

Vice President and Managing Director of Westinghouse Aziz Dag: In Case of Force Majeure, We Will Need up to 12 Months to Fully Fill Ukraine’s Demand for Nuclear Fuel

Vice President and Managing Director of Westinghouse Aziz Dag
Vice President and Managing Director of Westinghouse Aziz Dag

Ukraine is increasing its nuclear fuel imports from Westinghouse. In early January, the National Nuclear Energy Generating Company “Energoatom” signed a contract with Westinghouse (USA) covering nuclear fuel supplies through 2025. The contract envisages supplies of nuclear fuel to 7 out of Ukraine’s 15 nuclear power units. As of February 2018, Westinghouse fuel is being used at 6 power units, namely units #2 and #3 of South Ukraine NPP and units #1, #3, #4 and #5 of Zaporizhia NPP. Ukrainian News spoke with Vice President and Managing Director of Westinghouse Aziz Dag about the company’s readiness to further increase fuel supplies to Ukraine, as well as the details of the recently signed contract.

In January, there was news that Brookfield Business Partners investment company was planning to acquire Westinghouse. What does this mean for Westinghouse and how will this affect the company’s business in Europe, particularly in Ukraine?

This announcement is a good step for the future of Westinghouse. Brookfield Business Partners is willing to buy all of Westinghouse’s business, including in Europe. The deal is expected to close in Q3 2018. The necessary regulatory procedures for such a deal are still ongoing. This deal will make Westinghouse stronger globally, and more sustainable in the long term.

As you may know, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko stated that, in order to reduce dependence on Russian fuel, the share of Westinghouse’s supplies would be increased to 55%, however, this would require Westinghouse to supply 8 of Ukraine’s power units (out of 15). Why, according to the recently signed agreement, will you supply fuel only to 7 units?

The recently signed contract is both an extension and an expansion of our previous contract with “Energoatom”, which will allow us to supply fuel to 7 rather than 6 power units. This is a good sign that our fuel works well and is appreciated on the market. The contract itself envisages the possibility that Westinghouse may supply fuel to additional units. And we are ready to do so.

So why 7 power units?

It was important for us to agree on expansion of the contract, and we did. And we agreed on the minimum number of power units. There is an option for additional fuel supplies, if Ukraine would like to purchase more.

What will be the seventh power unit to receive your fuel?

Unit #3 of Rivne NPP. This is a new power plant for Westinghouse, and this will be the first time we supply fuel for it.

Do you have the ability to amend the existing contract between “Energoatom” and Westinghouse?

Yes, indeed, the contract lists the minimum number of power units. There is always the option to amend it or agree on additional supplies.

Does the contract still contain a force majeure clause, which would allow Westinghouse to supply fuel to all of Ukraine’s power units if Russia suddenly stops its supplies of fuel to Ukraine?

The force majeure clause is currently in the contract; it will take time to activate it. We will need an advance notice, some lead-time to prepare.

How much time?

Within 12 months, Westinghouse can be ready to supply fuel to all power units. If Westinghouse performs regular supplies of fuel to more than 7 reactors, the lead-time will decrease.

How much fresh nuclear fuel has Ukraine bought from Westinghouse for storage, i.e. for later use?

From Westinghouse’s perspective, we supply fuel to Ukraine for immediate use at power plants. Westinghouse knows that “Energoatom” stores a portion of the fuel. Currently all of Westinghouse fuel is in use.

When does the company plan to receive the permit from the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine to use your fuel at the seventh power unit?

We are currently working with the regulator. We expect to be ready to supply nuclear fuel to the Rivne NPP in 2021.

I’d like to add that our fuel can be adapted for use in the new reactor, and the company has the technical ability to supply it to Rivne NPP as well as Khmelnitskyi NPP even earlier, however, we still need to go through all the necessary administrative procedures.

This is the same fuel used at both Zaporizhia NPP and South Ukraine NPP.

Will there be test supplies of Westinghouse fuel for VVER-440 power units?

We are currently going through the licensing process for VVER-440 fuel in Ukraine and other countries. We used to offer fuel for such power units in the past. The current contract envisages that the sides will make an effort to license the fuel and use it at units #1 and #2 of Rivne NPP.

In a previous interview you said that there were fuel components (produced by “Atomenergomash”) undergoing quality assurance at Westinghouse? Have they passed the tests? What other nuclear fuel components do you (or can you) receive from Ukraine?

The qualification period for “Atomenergomash” is still ongoing. As soon as Westinghouse confirms that “Atomenergomash” meets all the requirements, the company will use it as a supplier of components for fuel that will later be shipped to Ukraine.

In the contract signed with “Energoatom”, our company confirmed our commitment to work with “Atomenergomash” as a supplier of nuclear fuel components, if it passes qualification.

How long will qualification take?

This will definitely happen no later than 2021. This could happen earlier, and we would be happy to use these components.

What progress has been made in implementation of Westinghouse’s other joint projects with “Energoatom”? For instance, earlier you mentioned the project to increase efficiency, power level and capacity factor of Ukraine’s reactors.

We are still interested in these projects; they are still under discussion.

These projects were not part of discussion on the recently signed contract. We also signed some additional small contracts concerning control systems. The aforementioned projects will require a separate contract; negotiations on it are still ongoing.


“Energoatom” is planning to announce a tender to select partners for the “Ukraine-EU Energy Bridge” project. Will Westinghouse participate?

This is a very important project for Ukraine, and an interesting one for Westinghouse. We are currently evaluating the project requirements. If the requirements and our interests match, then we will aim to become a partner in this project.

Westinghouse would be happy to help build a “bridge” to Europe, which will allow Ukraine to export electricity to Europe.

What can you say about potential production of small modular reactors (SMR) in Ukraine?

Westinghouse does have SMR designs, and would be happy to start negotiations on this opportunity.