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In Ukraine, USA to finance American companies to sell nuclear technology there, and to other States

Where the Russians are coming, so is Westinghouse with its nuclear ambitions
, ANYA LITVAK, Post Gazette, 7 Feb 22, Over the past few months, Joel Eaker, Westinghouse Electric Co.’s vice president for new nuclear power plant projects, has been shaking hands and posing for pictures all over Eastern Europe.

He was in Poland last month, where he plans to move in the spring. A week before that, he was in the Czech Republic to announce agreements signed with local companies in Cranberry-based Westinghouse’s bid to sell its AP1000 reactors in the region.

The nuclear renaissance never happened in the United States. But Mr. Eaker thinks Europe is headed in that direction.

The long game

The nuclear business is a long game with fits and starts.

For more than two decades, Westinghouse has been seemingly on the cusp of selling new nuclear reactors to various Eastern European countries ………….

All along, Westinghouse was pursuing a parallel strategy: making fuel that could be used in existing Russian-made reactors that are scattered across Europe.

…… Westinghouse  could provide an alternate supply of fuel, which effectively delinks those countries from Russia.”

After some attempts loading the fuel in Russian-made reactors at Temelin in the Czech Republic, it was Ukraine that allowed Westinghouse to test and refine its fuel assemblies in Russian reactors.

Today, the U.S. company’s fuel is loaded into nearly half of Ukraine’s nuclear plants, and Westinghouse is trying to use those bona fides to sell fuel to existing Russian-style reactors in Finland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary, Tarik Choho, president of Westinghouse’s Europe, the Middle East and Africa division, told Ukraine’s news service in August.

Mr. Eaker said Westinghouse’s pursuit of that market was both earnest and strategic.

The company’s bread-and-butter business is supplying fuel to and servicing existing reactors. It’s what made Westinghouse, then in bankruptcy, attractive to the Canadian asset management firm Brookfield Business Partners, which has owned it since 2018.

It’s difficult to predict if this recent burst of nuclear promise in Eastern Europe will yield actual new reactor projects, Ms. Harrington said.

…………  In 2014, when the continued existence of the U.S.’s Export-Import Bank became a topic of debate in Congress, Westinghouse’s then-CEO Danny Roderick said the first thing he was asked when pitching a new plant to clients in places like Central Europe is how much the U.S. government is willing to help financially.

………. Pierre Paul Oneid, the chief nuclear officer at Holtec International, a New Jersey-based company that specializes in decommissioning and nuclear fuel storage. Holtec, Mr. Oneid said, had been working for a decade to close a deal for a centralized storage facility for spent nuclear fuel in Ukraine, which would not be possible without financing from the U.S. government.

……..  While Mr. Oneid said the deal was in the “eleventh hour,” in fact it took three more years to finalize. U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corp. announced in 2017 that it was providing $250 million in political risk insurance to the Ukrainian utility. Bank of America/Merrill Lynch would then sell that $250 million commitment in the form of fixed-rate bond securities.

It was the first such deal of its type, but probably not the last.

Show me the money

If there’s another major piece, other than climate change, that’s opening doors for Westinghouse in Eastern Europe, it’s the prospect of the U.S. government’s expanded role in financing nuclear projects, Mr. Eaker said.

In 2019, then-President Donald Trump created the U.S. Nuclear Fuel Working Group………. Among its recommendations was for the U.S. Development Finance Corp., a newly-created vehicle to fund projects in low-income countries, to lift its ban on providing funds to nuclear projects. 

The development agency listened and, in the summer of 2020, it unshackled itself from the ban, which was a holdover from its predecessor and modeled on the language of the World Bank. The DFC can even provide financing to projects in higher-income countries in Eastern Europe as part of its charge under the The European Energy Security and Diversification Act of 2019.

This means the U.S. government can now offer equity financing for nuclear projects abroad, a first. It can also give larger loans and loan guarantees than what is typically handled by the Export-Import Bank, and it can offer political risk insurance.

This is the next step in Westinghouse’s advances in Eastern Europe. Once it finishes doing a $10 million front end engineering and design study for AP1000 reactors in Poland — the U.S. government funded 70% of that work as part of an intergovernmental agreement — then it hopes to submit a formal bid along with a U.S. government financing proposal this fall.

In Ukraine, Westinghouse has already signed contracts with the electric utility to start ordering long-lead equipment and doing other preparations, but the contracts won’t be fully implemented until the U.S. comes with the financing package.

Anya Litvak:

February 8, 2022 - Posted by | marketing, politics international, Ukraine


  1. Christina is the best. It’s depressing yet she goes on. A true hero

    Comment by ...... | February 8, 2022 | Reply

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