APIS project in a nutshell

The objective of the APIS-program is to create security of supply of nuclear fuel for Russian designed pressurized water reactors (VVER) operating in the EU and Ukraine.

More about APIS

The project Accelerated Program for Implementation of secure VVER fuel Supply will create security of supply of nuclear fuel for Russian designed pressurized water reactors (VVER) operating in the EU and Ukraine by diversification of fuel sources in full compliance with nuclear safety. The project will reinforce the European capabilities for nuclear fuel supply for reactors of VVER-440 design and expedite the process of strengthening such capabilities. The constitution of the consortium creates a strong cooperation between countries with experience of adaptation of fuel type and countries starting their journey towards nuclear fuel diversification.

Due to the situation in Ukraine and the fast transition from Russian to Western fuel design, work must be accelerated to be able to handle the situation that has arisen. The western design of fuel is hence introduced stepwise: emergent VVER-440 fuel designs for European energy security for delivery to Ukrainian power plant in year 2023, followed by a fuel design with improved economics for operation in all European plants without restrictions, and lastly next generation of fuel design. For an efficient licensing, a harmonized approach for VVER fuel licensing is required, for which cooperation between regulators, nuclear power plants and fuel supplier is necessary. This project will facilitate this cooperation. Re-establishment of manufacturing capability and licensing analyses capabilities with reliable methods and codes will also be addressed. The lifetime of the VVER plants within the European Union and Ukraine is very import to secure future energy supplies. The project will investigate how to operate the nuclear power plant for increased safety and prolongation of the life time of the VVER plants. This includes fuel inspection capabilities.

Key elements of impact

What are the specific needs that triggered this project?

Most countries with Russian-designed VVER reactors in the European Union, as well as, Ukraine have relied on nuclear fuel supply from Russia. The Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022 has created the need to strengthen the security of supply of nuclear fuel for these reactors.

What is expected to have been generated by the end of the project?

Developed the capability to supply nuclear fuel to all VVER reactors in Europe and Ukraine within a consortium that has an existing capacity to deliver VVER-1000 fuel.

This includes:
• Modifications to the existing Westinghouse VVER-440 fuel assembly for delivery in 2023
• Design a VVER-440 fuel assembly for improved fuel economics for delivery in 2024
• Design the next generation VVER fuel assembly with increased operational margins for lead test assembly delivery in 2025
• Develop the safety analyses codes, methods/methodologies, tests, inspections, and a harmonized licensing approach
• Establish the manufacturing and supply chain capabilities for VVER-440 fuel
• Investigate operational or fuel design concepts to ensure long term operation of the power plant

What exploitation measures will be applied to the results?

Introduction of western-European fuel into the Russian designed VVER plants in the different European countries to strengthen the security of supply.

Who will benefit from the results of the project?

• The public
• Utilities and organizations operating VVER reactors in Europe (different levels such as upper management, fuel managers, fuel engineering expertise etc.)
• Researchers and students in the field of nuclear fuel technology in universities and research institutes in Europe and globally
• Other professionals working at subcontracting companies in the design and delivery chain of nuclear fuel
• Authorities/Regulatory bodies
• The European Commission and the Joint Research Centre of the EC

What is expected result after successful project?

• VVER reactors in the EU and Ukraine operating with non-Russian supplied nuclear fuel
• Energy security for the affected countries
• Adoption of the harmonized licensing approach
• Increased knowledge and expertise to support the VVER operators in the EU and Ukraine.
• A strengthened energy supply in Europe supported by the EU funding
• Increased expertise/skills development and employment opportunities
• Assurance of the fiduciary responsibility of the EC for its planned investment resulting in energy security for the affected countries.