Nuclear power in Ukraine

Ukraine operates four nuclear power plants with 15 reactors located in Volhynia and South Ukraine.[1] The total installed nuclear power capacity is over 13 GWe, ranking 7th in the world in 2020.[2] Energoatom, a Ukrainian state enterprise, operates all four active nuclear power stations in Ukraine.[3] In 2019, nuclear power supplied over 20% of Ukraine's energy.[4]

70 TWh of electricity generation was nuclear in 2020, which was over 50%.[4] This was the 3rd largest share, only France and Slovakia had a higher share. The largest nuclear power plant in Europe is in Ukraine.

The 1986 Chernobyl disaster in Northern Ukraine was the world's most severe nuclear accident to date.

Lack of coal for Ukraine's coal-fired power stations due to the War in Donbas and a shut down of one of the six reactors of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant led to rolling blackouts throughout the country in December 2014. Due to the Russo-Ukrainian War, the nuclear power plant has been damaged.


Electricity production by source, Ukraine
Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant is Europe's largest with six reactors whose total capacity is 6 GW.[1]
Khmelnytskyi NPP
Rivne NPP
Ukrainian coin commemorating nuclear power

Ukraine relies to a large extent on nuclear power. The largest nuclear power plant in Europe, the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, is located in Ukraine. In 2006, the government planned to build 11 new reactors by the year 2030, which would almost double the current amount of nuclear power capacity.[5] Ukraine's power sector is the twelfth-largest in the world in terms of installed capacity, with 54 gigawatts (GW).[6]Renewable energy still plays a very modest role in electrical output; in 2005 energy production was met by the following sources: nuclear (47%), thermal (45%), hydroelectric and other (8%).[5]

History of Soviet originEdit

Chernobyl AES

The Chernobyl disaster was a nuclear accident that occurred on 26 April 1986 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic of the Soviet Union. An explosion and fire released large quantities of radioactive contamination into the atmosphere, which spread over much of Western USSR and Europe. It is considered the worst nuclear power plant accident in history, and is one of only two classified as a level 7 event on the International Nuclear Event Scale (the other being the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster).[7] The battle to contain the contamination and avert a greater catastrophe ultimately involved over 500,000 workers and cost an estimated 18 billion rubles, crippling the Soviet economy.[8]

Ukraine used to receive its nuclear fuel exclusively from Russia by the Russian company TVEL. Since 2008 the country also gets nuclear fuel from Westinghouse.[9] Since 2014 Westinghouse's share of imports grew to more than 30% in 2016 due to strong social disapproval of any economic relations with Russia after Crimea annexation.[1] In 2018 Westinghouse's contract to supply VVER fuel was extended to 2025.[10] Oil and natural gas provide the remainder of the country's energy; these are also imported from the former Soviet Union.

Recent renewal and transformationEdit

In 2011 Energoatom began a project to bring safety into line with international standards at an estimated cost of $1.8 billion, with a target completion date of 2017. In 2015 the completion date was put back to 2020, due to financing delays.[11] In 2015 some government agencies made corruption allegations against Energoatom, with concerns raised by Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk.[12] In March 2016, Energoatom's assets and bank accounts were frozen by Ukrainian courts over allegedly unpaid debts; Energoatom appealed the decision, but the frozen finances led to contractual breaches.[13] In June 2016 its bank accounts were unfrozen.[14]

In February 2018 Ukraine secured $250 million of U.S. funding to build a spent nuclear fuel storage facility, which will avoid the need to ship spent nuclear fuel to Russia.[15]

In 2018 Energoatom stated that electricity prices were too low to cover the cost of new nuclear fuel, and called for a price increase.[16]

In 2008 Westinghouse Electric Company won a five-year contract selling nuclear fuel to three Ukrainian reactors starting in 2011.[17] Following Euromaidan then President Viktor Yanukovych introduced a ban on Rosatom nuclear fuel shipments to Europe via Ukraine, which was in effect from 28 January until 6 March 2014.[18] By 2016, Russia's share was down to 55 percent, Westinghouse supplying nuclear fuel for six of Ukraine's VVER-1000 nuclear reactors.[19] After the Russian annexation of Crimea in April 2014, Energoatom and Westinghouse extended the contract for fuel deliveries through 2020.[20]

In 2019 Energoatom and Turboatom signed a five year contract to modernize condensers and turbines at a number of Ukrainian nuclear power plants.[21]

On 4 December 2019, Ukraine's government appointed Pavlo Pavlyshyn as acting head of Energoatom. During January 2020 Energoatom discussed eight legislative bills with the chairman of the Ukrainian parliament subcommittee on nuclear energy and safety, aimed at meeting international obligations and standards, and the financial stabilization of Energoatom.[22]

In August 2021 Energoatom and Westinghouse signed a contract for construction of Westinghouse AP1000 reactors to replace the unfinished blocks in Khmelnitskyi power plant.[23]


On 24 February 2022, the Ukrainian electricity grid disconnected from the post-Soviet IPS/UPS grid, ahead of synchronizing with the Synchronous grid of Continental Europe which was achieved on March 16.[24]

In March 2022, Russian forces seized control of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. It continues to operate and supply data, including from a remote monitoring system, to the International Atomic Energy Agency.[25][26] On 6 June, IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi said "at least five of the seven indispensable pillars of nuclear safety and security have been compromised" in Russia's occupation of the plant,[27] and after attacks in August, that all seven had been breached.[28] Because of the 2022 Russian war against Ukraine, the nuclear power plant has been damaged.[29][30][31][32][33][34][excessive citations]

Uranium miningEdit

In 2005 there were 17 deposits on the state balance account.[35] Three of them Vatutine, Central, and Michurinske were being developed, while an ore enrichment[clarification needed] factory was being built at Novokostiantyniv.[35] Number of deposits are exhausted (i.e. Devladove, Zhovtorichenske, Pershotravneve, Bratske).[36][35]

Activists have been long alerting about Dnipro Chemical Plant in Kamianske, which is a Soviet-times military uranium processing facility that consists of industrial buildings, equipment containing uranium waste as well as large landfills where tailings were stored. Small scale soil, water and dust leaks have been documented from the facility, but apart from securing the perimeter not much has been done to properly secure the plant.[37]

List of reactorsEdit

All of Ukraine's RBMK reactors (the type involved in the 1986 Chernobyl disaster) were located at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. All of the reactors there have been shut down, leaving only the much safer VVER reactors operating in the country.[1] Three of the reactors listed were built in post-independence Ukraine, with the first one of these being constructed in 1995; the other sixteen reactors the country inherited from the Soviet Union.

Nuclear power plants in Ukraine (view)
  Active plants
  Future plants
  Closed plants
  Unfinished plants

Active plants with power generating capabilitiesEdit

Name Location Unit Number Type Capacity (MW) Years of Operation Notes
Khmelnytskyi Netishyn 1 VVER 1000 1987–
2 2004–
3 Under Construction Project started in 1986, to be completed in 2026
4 1100 Project started in 1987, to be demolished and replaced by AP1000
5 AP1000 Planned Planned as AP1000
Rivne Varash 1 VVER 440 1980–
2 1981–
3 1000 1986–
4 2004–
South Ukraine Yuzhnoukrainsk 1 VVER 1000 1982–
2 1985–
3 1989–
4 Unfinished Construction Project started in 1987, abandoned in 1989
Zaporizhzhia Enerhodar 1 VVER 1000 1984– Largest NPP in Europe
2 1985–
3 1986–
4 1987–
5 1989–
6 1995–
Total Ukraine VVER 13819 1981 (1978)-

Research reactorsEdit

Name Location Type Capacity, MWe Operational Notes
Sevastopol University Sevastopol IR-100 [uk] 100 1967– seized by the Russian Federation
Institute for Nuclear Research NASU Kyiv VVR-M [uk] 10 1960–
Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology Kharkiv Neutron source 2016–

Unfinished and closed plantsEdit

Chyhyryn NPP (draft)
Anti-nuclear picket in Kyiv
Name Location Unit


Type Capacity


Years of Operation Status Notes
Chernobyl NPP Pripyat 1 RBMK 1000 1977–1996 Decommissionned Gradually decommissioned following accident
2 1978–1991
3 1981–2000
4 1984–1986 Destroyed Exploded in the Chernobyl Accident
5 None Unfinished Construction Project started in 1981, abandoned in 1987
Crimean NPP Shcholkine 1 VVER 950 None Unfinished Construction Abandoned in 1989
3 Never Built Cancelled in 1989
Odesa NTEC Teplodar 1 VVER 940 None Unfinished Construction Abandoned in 1989
Kharkiv NTEC Birky 1 VVER 940 None Unfinished Construction Project started in 1986, abandoned in 1989
3 Never Built Cancelled in 1989
Chyhyryn NPP Orbita 1 VVER 1000 None Unfinished Construction Abandoned in 1989, considered to renew building with new design since 2021[38][39]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d Nuclear fuel imports from Sweden account for 41.6% in H1, balance from Russia, UNIAN (22 August 2016)
  2. ^ "PRIS – Miscellaneous reports – Nuclear Share". Retrieved 27 February 2022.
  3. ^ Energoatom chief Kim overstepped his powers when signing contract, failed to show up for questioning, says interior minister, Interfax-Ukraine (12 June 2013)
  4. ^ a b "Primary energy consumption by source". Our World in Data. Retrieved 27 February 2022.
  5. ^ a b "Nuclear Power in Ukraine". World Nuclear Association. Retrieved 22 December 2007.
  6. ^ "Ukraine". Energy Information Administration (EIA). US government. Archived from the original on 15 October 2009. Retrieved 22 December 2007.
  7. ^ Black, Richard (12 April 2011). "Fukushima: As Bad as Chernobyl?". Retrieved 20 August 2011.
  8. ^ From interviews with Mikhail Gorbachev, Hans Blix and Vassili Nesterenko. The Battle of Chernobyl. Discovery Channel. Relevant video locations: 31:00, 1:10:00.
  9. ^ "Westinghouse and Ukraine's Energoatom extend nuclear fuel contract". Archived from the original on 23 April 2014. Retrieved 23 April 2014.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
    Westinghouse CEO: We are ready to put our fuel in all of Ukraine's NPP, UNIAN (28 October 2015)
  10. ^ "Ukraine signs new fuel contract with Westinghouse". Nuclear Engineering International. 1 February 2018. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  11. ^ "Ukraine aims to complete safety upgrade program in 2020". World Nuclear News. 7 August 2015. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  12. ^ "Energoatom chief recalls highs and lows of first half-year". World Nuclear News. 12 August 2015. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  13. ^ "Continued Ukraine-Russia tensions over fuel". Nuclear Engineering International. 7 June 2016. Archived from the original on 13 February 2019. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  14. ^ "Energoatom's accounts unblocked". Interfax-Ukraine. 29 June 2016. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  15. ^ "Ukraine secures US funding for storage facility". World Nuclear News. 15 February 2018. Retrieved 19 February 2018.
  16. ^ "Energoatom counts cost of regulatory changes". World Nuclear News. 19 March 2018. Retrieved 20 March 2018.
  17. ^ "Westinghouse Wins Contract to Provide Fuel Supplies to Ukraine". 30 March 2008. Westinghouse Electric. Archived from the original (press release) on 19 June 2015. Retrieved 15 April 2014.
  18. ^ "Russia says restarts nuclear fuel transit to Europe via Ukraine". Reuters. 8 March 2014. Archived from the original on 16 October 2015. Retrieved 15 April 2014.
  19. ^ Peterson, Nolan (10 November 2017). "American coal miners undermine Putin's energy weapon against Ukraine". Newsweek Media Group. Archived from the original on 10 November 2017. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  20. ^ "Energoatom, Westinghouse extend contract on nuclear fuel supplies until 2025". Interfax-Ukraine. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  21. ^ "Energoatom, Turboatom sign contract for modernizing Ukraine's nuclear power plants". Kyiv Post. 27 August 2019. Retrieved 3 September 2019.
  22. ^ "Ukraine assesses legislation to support nuclear sector". World Nuclear News. 14 January 2020. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  23. ^ Company, Westinghouse Electric. "Energoatom and Westinghouse Advance Clean Energy Throughout Central and Eastern Europe". Retrieved 1 September 2021.
  24. ^ Blaustein, Anna (23 March 2022). "How Ukraine Unplugged from Russia and Joined Europe's Power Grid with Unprecedented Speed". Scientific American. Retrieved 1 April 2022.
  25. ^ "Live: Russian forces capture damaged Ukrainian nuclear power station". ABC News. 3 March 2022 – via
  26. ^ "Ukraine says any IAEA visit to occupied Zaporizhzhia 'unacceptable'". World Nuclear News. 27 May 2022. Retrieved 31 May 2022.
  27. ^ Gaspar, Miklos (6 June 2022). "Grossi Expresses Concern to IAEA Board about Safeguards in Iran; Nuclear Safety, Security and Safeguards at Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine". International Atomic Energy Agency. Retrieved 11 August 2022.
  28. ^ "Nuclear plant disaster in Ukraine is 'real risk,' IAEA says". Mining Dot Com. Bloomberg News. Retrieved 11 August 2022.
  29. ^ "Zaporizhzhia: Russian rockets damaged part of nuclear plant, Ukraine says". BBC News. 5 August 2022.
  30. ^ "Ukraine turns off reactor at its most powerful nuclear plant after 'accident'". The Independent. 28 December 2014.
  31. ^ "Ukraine Briefly Cuts Power to Crimea Amid Feud With Russia Over NATO". The New York Times. 24 December 2014.
  32. ^ "Coal import to help avoid rolling blackouts in Ukraine – energy minister". ITAR-TASS. 31 December 2014.
  33. ^ "Rolling blackouts in Ukraine after nuclear plant accident". Mashable. 3 December 2014.
  34. ^ "Ukraine to Import Coal From 'Far Away' as War Curtails Mines". Bloomberg News. 31 December 2014.
  35. ^ a b c About economic feasibility to attract investments in exploration and development of uranium deposits in Ukraine. Ukrainian geological projects.
  36. ^ Sieroi, S. Uranium plus gold, is that a solution to crisis? "Den". 22 May 1998.
  37. ^ "In central Ukraine, a city's future is overshadowed by a radioactive neighbour". openDemocracy. Retrieved 1 September 2021.
  38. ^ В Україні хочуть побудувати нову АЕС – названо місто
  39. ^ Україна збудує 5 нових енергоблоків АЕС разом з американською компанією. Проєкт обійдеться у $30 млрд

External linksEdit