During the 2019 outage campaign, the core of ZNPP Unit 5 was fully loaded with the Westinghouse fuel. Three other ZNPP units – Units 1, 3 and 4 have mixed loading now. Thus, today in the core of ZNPP units, there is the following number of the WR fuel assemblies: 163 – at Unit 5, 84 (i.e. half) - at each of the units: Unit 3 and Unit 4, and already 126 – at Unit 1 (which is currently in outage).
“By using different sources of fuel supply, we first of all ensure the energy security of Ukraine. Regarding the reliability of alternative fuels, the WR fuel assemblies demonstrate good mechanical stability results,” Oexander Ignatchenko, ZNPP Deputy Chief Engineer for Nuclear and Radiation Safety, emphasized.
Zaporizhzhia NPP staff considers that the advantages of this fuel include the absence of design restrictions on power change cycles. Therefore, this fuel is more flexible for use in switching modes. There is a plan to perform a 1.5% increase of the power level at the power units where the Westinghouse fuel is loaded.
But the most relevant task is to put the Westinghouse fuel into industrial operation at designated KhNPP units. In 2020, it will happen at Unit 5. Besides, next year, full load with the WR fuel assemblies is expected to be made for the core of Unit 1, in 2021 – Units 3, 4. A year after, subject to successful pilot operation, the use of alternative fuel will become industrial.
The next step, after putting the Westinghouse fuel into industrial operation at ZNPP units, will be the cooperation with the supplier in order to improve economic performance, calculate longer loading, which can continue for another 20-40 effective days.
In the long run, the implementation of longer-lasting fuel campaigns will also result in receiving a higher installed capacity rate by the plant.
Thus, the work done by the Ukrainian specialists in nuclear power industry on the operation of mixed loading, modernization of software and equipment, is aimed at the successful introduction of the Westinghouse nuclear fuel into industrial operation. This is a significant contribution to the energy security of our country.