Nuclear energy’s share of Ukraine’s electricity mix is “rapidly approaching” 60%, President Petro Poroshenko said at a meeting of the country’s National Security and Defence Council yesterday, according to a statement on the presidential website. The president did not give a date by which the increase would be achieved.
Ukraine has 15 nuclear units in commercial operation at four sites – Khmelnitsky, Rovno, South Ukraine and Zaporozhe – which are all operated by state-owned Energoatom. The units comprise 13 VVER-1000s and two VVER-440s with a total capacity of 13,835 MWe. Ukraine receives most of its nuclear services and nuclear fuel from Russia, but is reducing this dependence by buying fuel from Westinghouse, the US-headquartered subsidiary of Japan’s Toshiba.
A large share of primary energy supply in Ukraine comes from the country’s uranium and substantial coal resources. The remainder is oil and gas, mostly imported from Russia. Total electricity production in 2014 amounted to 183 TWh, with 8 TWh net exports to Europe. In 2014, 88 TWh was from nuclear, 71 TWh from coal, 13 TWh from gas, and 9 TWh from hydro. Electricity consumption was 134 TWh after transmission losses of 20 TWh due to old grid. Peak demand is about 28 GWe. Total capacity is about 52 GWe, including 22 GWe coal-fired, 13.8 GWe nuclear, 5 GWe gas and 4.8 GWe hydro. Much of the coal-fired plant is old and with unconstrained emissions, and nearly half of it is due to close down. In 2014, 48.6% of electricity was from nuclear, and in 2015, 82.4 TWh comprised 56.5%.
Poroshenko also said he welcomed plans to upgrade the generating capacities of power plants fired by anthracite coal, which is made almost entirely of carbon.
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The headline is spin really. Reading the numbers nuclear production was 2014: 88 TWh, 2015: 82.4 TWh, i.e. down. The only reason nuclear share is up is because total production is more heavily down, probably due to Ukraine no longer importing much coal from Russia.