Framatome Secures European Funding for the Development of VVER Fuel

Framatome has announced that it has secured financial support from the European Union to develop fuel for Russian-technology reactors (VVER) operated in Europe.

Framatome’s project to develop VVER-440 fuel will benefit from a European Union contribution of 10 million euros. Named SAVE, for Framatome Safe and Alternative VVER European project, the project brings together 17 stakeholders aiming to strengthen the fuel supply for Russian technology reactors in operation in Europe through a 100% European solution. These European partners include four operators: ČEZ (Czech Republic), Fortum (Finland), MVM Paks (Hungary), and Slovenské Electrárne (Slovakia).

VVER Reactors in Europe

Currently, 19 VVER reactors are operating across the continent: four 1000 MW reactors in Bulgaria and the Czech Republic and 15 440 MW reactors in Finland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia (see the table below). The majority are expected to remain operational for several more decades. Indeed, the Finnish operator has received authorisation to operate the Loviisa power plant until 2050. The Hungarian MVM Paks, whose operating licenses extend into the 2030s, also targets the 2050s. Not to mention, the four Slovak Mochovce reactors were commissioned between the late 1990s and 2023, with an additional VVER-440 currently nearing completion.

The European Solution

Funded as part of the Euratom research and training program, Framatome emphasises the unique and European nature of the SAVE project. “Framatome welcomes this funding from the European Union, which reflects our efforts and will enable us to accelerate our development to contribute to the diversification and security of fuel supply for VVER reactors,” said Lionel Gaiffe, senior executive vice-president of Framatome’s Fuel Business Unit. “Framatome is the only fuel provider capable of guaranteeing a 100% European and sovereign solution, including design, manufacturing, and a supply chain of 100% European components,” he added. ■


Appendix: VVER-440 reactors in Europe


VVER-440 Reactors (Country)

Connection to the grid

Bohunice-3 (Slovakia) 1984
Bohunice-4 (Slovakia) 1985
Dukovany-1 (Czech Republic) 1985
Dukovany-2 (Czech Republic) 1986
Dukovany-3 (Czech Republic) 1986
Dukovany-4 (Czech Republic) 1987
Loviisa-1 (Finland) 1977
Loviisa-2 (Finland) 1980
Mochovce-1 (Slovakia) 1998
Mochovce-2(Slovakia) 1999
Mochovce-3 (Slovakia) 2023
Mochovce-4 (Slovakia) Under construction
Paks-1 (Hungary) 1982
Paks-2(Hungary) 1984
Paks-3 (Hungary) 1986
Paks-4 (Hungary) 1987

Gaïc Le Gros (Sfen)

Image: VVER fuel – ©DR