Ukraine’s state-owned nuclear utility Energoatom has started construction on Units 5 and 6 at the Khmelnytskyi Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), using Westinghouse Electric’s AP1000 reactors.

The current AP1000 activities at Khmelnytskyi are part of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in 2022, for the deployment of nine AP1000 reactors in Ukraine.

The AP1000 is the only available operating Generation 3+ reactor that offers fully passive safety systems, modular construction design and the smallest footprint per MWe.

Currently, the AP1000 reactor is commercially operational in the US, China, and Bulgaria.

The technology is considered to be deployed at multiple other sites in Central and Eastern Europe, the UK, India and North America.

Energoatom head Petro Kotin said: “The Westinghouse company is our reliable strategic partner: both in the development and loading of alternative fuel into the VVER reactors, and in the creation of a fuel production line in Ukraine.

“During the war, we have not stopped, but on the contrary deepened and accelerated our cooperation.”

Ukraine’s Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko said: “The facilities that we plan to build at the Khmelnytskyi NPP will enable Ukraine to make the largest recovery since the Second World War. I am very grateful to Westinghouse.

“In 2020, we signed an agreement to develop fuel for VVER-440 type reactors for five years. But after the full-scale invasion, we significantly accelerated that process and did the impossible – Westinghouse, together with Ukrainian specialists, developed that fuel twice as fast.”

The first batch of Westinghouse VVER-1000 nuclear fuel has been delivered for the two operating units at the Khmelnytskyi Nuclear Power Plant.

Westinghouse manufactured the VVER-1000 fuel at its fuel fabrication facility in Sweden

The company also delivered the first batch of VVER-440 nuclear fuel to Ukraine’s Rivne Nuclear Power Plant in September last year, in a development program.

In addition to the AP1000 reactor, Westinghouse signed an MoU with Ukraine in September last year, for the development and deployment of the AP300 Small Modular Reactor (SMR).

Westinghouse president and CEO Patrick Fragman said: “Westinghouse is honoured to be a trusted partner supporting Ukraine in its pursuit of clean, reliable and secure energy for generations to come.

“This milestone moves us one step closer to bringing another AP1000 reactor online in Europe and joining our global fleet of AP1000 units in China and the U.S., and we remain proud to continue our long-standing, nearly 20-year partnership with Ukraine on proven and reliable nuclear fuel supply.”