Ukraine plans to start the construction of four new nuclear reactors this summer or autumn to compensate for the lost capacity of the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko told Reuters on Jan. 25.
Before its occupation in March 2022, the Zaporizhzhia plant, the largest nuclear plant in Europe, used to produce more than 40% of nuclear-generated electricity in Ukraine. Today, three nuclear power plants in Ukrainian-controlled territory produce about 55% of the country's electricity needs.
All four new nuclear reactors will be built at the Khmelnytskyi Nuclear Power Plant, which currently has two units, in western Ukraine. Two new power units will use Russian-made equipment that Ukraine wants to import from Bulgaria. The other two will be based on equipment produced by the American company Westinghouse.
The construction of the third and fourth reactors at the Khmelnytskyi plant began in the 1980s but was put on halt. If Ukraine receives reactor pressure vessels soon, it could have one of the Soviet-era VVER-1000 units ready in two and half years, Halushchenko said.
In parallel, preparatory construction work should start to accommodate two modern Western AP1000 units.
Ukraine will also need to pass legislation on each new unit in parliament.
Energoatom, Ukraine's state nuclear energy company, and Westinghouse signed an agreement in December 2023 to purchase equipment for the Khmelnytskyi plant's fifth unit. It will cost Ukraine $437.5 million.
In total, Ukraine plans to build nine power units using the AP1000 technology, according to government decisions and memorandums signed between Energoatom and Westinghouse.
Throughout the full-scale invasion, the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia station has been repeatedly disconnected from the Ukrainian power grid due to Russian attacks on the country's energy infrastructure.
Five of its units have been in a cold shutdown state recently, while unit four has been kept in a hot shutdown to provide heating and steam for nuclear safety purposes on site, as well as heating for the city of Enerhodar.