The Kharkov Khartron production association's headquarters was the venue of a foundation document signing ceremony September 29 involving the establishment of the Westron US-Ukrainian joint venture designed to foster US-Ukrainian cooperation in manufacture of automated systems for monitoring and control of technological processes at power plants including NPPs and industrial enterprises.
Westron is the brainchild of the Kharkov-based Khartron and the US Westinghouse Electric Corp. The cofounders expect its registration to be officialized shortly in line with Ukraine's active legislation.
Westron's foundation was preceded by a conversion cooperation agreement between Kiev and Washington, which was signed in May 1994 by US Secretary for Defense William Perry and Ukrainian vice-premier Valeri Shmarov.
Under the Nunn-Lugar program's pilot project for Ukraine's defense conversion Ukraine is entitled to maximal financing possible to the tune of 5 million dollars. Westinghouse has reportedly pledged to contribute additional 20 million US dollars.
According to the agreement the parties will transform the Westron consortium into a joint-stock society by 1996. As UKRINFORM was tipped off by Yevgeni Sinelnikov, director of Khartron's Energiya Rosmosa branch, the consortium is being established as an interim and transitional structure with its transformation into a joint-stock society presently being considered by the Ukrainian government.
Westinghouse's share in the nascent consortium is 51 per cent. According to Mr.Sinelnikov, 1996 and 1997 will witness a sweeping equipment modernization program implemented by Westron at Ukrainian nuclear power plants.
The Ukrainian partner will be responsible for developing basal and medium level equipment for the automated systems to-be, while Westinghouse will provide its state-of-the-art technologies and the upper level computer-assisted systems, which will rely on powerful computers. The equipment to-be will be manufactured by Kharkov's Monolit and Kiev's radio factory.
Western nukes employ monitoring systems in the 100-150 million USD cost range.
Domestically manufactured analogues are expected to be twice cheaper.
Presently, there are twelve VVER-1000 nuclear reactors in Ukraine plus three more nearing their construction completion.
As US experts intimated, Westinghouse has already started shipping its equipment to Ukraine. The payment is supposed to come from Westron's future proceeds, partly to be channelled to license payments and production expansion.
Khartron has a three decade record of the former USSR's leading manufacturer of missile guidance systems and other sophisticated space rocketry accessories. It was established back in 1959 as the Special Design Bureau no. 692 and got its present name, Khartron, in 1992. Its researchers and designers were instrumental in development and manufacture of guidance systems for the world's largest and most powerful Energiya boosters , Cyclone rockets, SS-18 and SS-19 ICBMs, Kvant and Kristall orbital modules, as well as for 152 Kosmos series satellites.