Westinghouse, Fortum strike fuel deal for Loviisa

November 28, 2022, 12:01PMNuclear News
Tarik Choho, Westinghouse nuclear fuel president (left, foreground), and Simon-Erik Ollus, executive vice president of Fortum Generation, shake hands after signing the VVER-440 fuel contract, surrounded by Fortum and Westinghouse team members. (Photo: Westinghouse)

Westinghouse Electric Company and Finnish energy company Fortum have jointly announced the signing of a long-term partnership to develop, license, and supply VVER-440 fuel to Finland’s two-unit Loviisa nuclear power plant.

One of Finland’s two nuclear power facilities (the other being Olkiluoto), Loviisa is located on the country’s southern coast near the town of Loviisa. Units 1 and 2 are twin 507-MWe VVER-440/V213 pressurized water reactors, with commercial start dates of May 1977 and January 1981, respectively. In 2021, the plant produced 8.2 terawatt-hours of electricity—more than 10 percent of Finland’s annual electricity production.

The new fuel type, according to Fortum, is based on the British Nuclear Fuel Limited/Westinghouse fuel supplied to Loviisa from 2001 to 2007 and used in parallel with the fuel supplied by Russia’s TVEL in the early 2000s. (From 1999 to 2006, Westinghouse was part of the now-defunct BNFL.) The fuel agreement with TVEL, Fortum said, is valid until the end of the units’ current operating licenses in 2027 and 2030.

Signers’ language: “The new and parallel fuel supplier will diversify our fuel strategy, improve security of supply, and ensure reliable electricity production at the Loviisa power plant also in the future,” said Sasu Valkamo, plant vice president.

Tarik Choho, Westinghouse president of nuclear fuel, added, “Westinghouse offers the only alternative fuel for this type of reactor that is both designed and manufactured outside of Russia, so this partnership will provide increased energy security for Finland and fuel diversification for Fortum. We are proud to support Fortum’s operating fleet with fuel reload quantities, building on our successful collaboration delivering VVER-440 fuel for Loviisa from 2001 to 2007.”

In case you missed it: Fortum submitted in March of this year an application to Finland’s Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment to operate the Loviisa reactors through 2050.

Also, in September, Westinghouse and Madrid-based ENUSA announced their intention to collaborate on VVER-440 fuel fabrication. This partnership, Westinghouse said at the time, “will build on decades of performance delivering a Western alternative to Russian fuel in the European market.”

Westinghouse and ENUSA first partnered in 1974 under a pressurized water reactor fuel technology transfer agreement in support of nuclear facilities in Spain, Belgium, and France, among others. Through the partnership, some 750 VVER-440 fuel assemblies were delivered to the Loviisa plant in Finland between 2002 and 2007.

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