Nuclear power in Ukraine is the most important source of electricity generation. Currently, Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs) generate 45.5% of the total electricity in the country followed with coal generation – 38%, gas generation 9.6% and the rest is based on renewable sources, mainly on hydro power plants – 5.9%. Nuclear-power industry is based on 4 NPPs including the largest one in Europe – Zaporizhzhya NPP with about 6,000 MWel gross installed capacity.
These NPPs are equipped with 13 VVER-1000 and 2 VVER-440 Russian-design Pressurized Water Reactors (PWRs) with the total gross installed capacity of 13,800 MWel. Layout of these NPPs, thermodynamic diagram and thermal efficiencies are provided. Thermal efficiencies have been calculated with the IAEA Desalination Thermodynamic Optimization Programme DE-TOP and compared to the actual ones.
Two of these reactors have been built and put into operation in 70-s, ten in 80-s, one in 90-s and just two in 2004. Therefore, based on an analysis of the world power reactors in terms of their maximum years of operation (currently, the oldest reactors are 45-year old) several projections have been made for future of the nuclear-power industry in Ukraine. Unfortunately, all these projections are quite pessimistic.
There is a possibility that around 2030–2035 the vast majority of the Ukrainian reactors will be shut down, and Ukraine can be left without the basic and vital source of electricity generation. Also, current problems of Ukrainian NPPs are: 1) lower capacity factors (around 80%) compared to those in other countries (∼90%); 2) uncertainties with nuclear-fuel supply due to political situation; and 3) service and repairs of relatively old reactors.