Russian nuclear fuel company TVEL has said it will honour all its nuclear fuel supply commitments to foreign nuclear power stations, despite a ban on transporting fuel cycle products across Ukraine by rail.
State nuclear corporation Rosatom said in a statement today that the rail ban was imposed by the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine on 28 January 2014 after anti-government protests broke out in the capital, Kiev.
Rosatom said TVEL, one of its subsidiaries, could deliver nuclear fuel using other licensed modes of transport such as air.
Rosatom said it continues “working routinely” with all its foreign partners and they understand the issues concerning a possible change of route or transport method.
A shipment of nuclear fuel is due to be delivered to Slovak nuclear power stations by air next week, Rosatom said. Slovakia has four Russian-designed VVER-440 reactors in operation at the Bohunice and Mochovce sites.
TVEL is responsible for the supply of fuel to 76 reactors in 14 countries, including Bulgaria, Hungary, Ukraine and Slovakia, its website says.
Ivan Genov, the executive director of Bulgaria’s Kozloduy nuclear station, said earlier this week that events in Ukraine would not affect fuel supplies to Kozloduy. He said the alternative of moving fuel by air had already been tested and was acceptable.
Kozloduy, Bulgaria’s only nuclear station, has two commercially operational reactors, but they have enough fuel stock to last about one year, Mr Genov said.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s nuclear generating company Energoatom released a statement saying the country’s nuclear stations are operating normally and are “vigorously protected” by security units and interior ministry military units.
The company said all nuclear stations had an adequate supply of nuclear fuel.
Ukraine has 15 commercially operational nuclear units at four nuclear stations: Khmelnitski, Rovno, South Ukraine and Zaporozhye.