"Voice of Ukraine"  ("Golos Ukrainy") newspaper,
No.164 (2411) of September 12, 2000

Partnership to the benefits of atomic power engineering of Ukraine

The Westron Co was founded in 1994 by the two sides:

    Hartron Company (the Ukrainian leading developer and manufacturer of control systems);
    well-known Westinghouse Electric Company (the USA).

For 6 years Westron has been doing its activities on delivery of monitoring & control systems to the nuclear power plants of Ukraine, also Westron performs at site implementation of the systems.

The Westron Co serves to be quite a unique example of a mutually beneficial partnership between a Ukrainian Co and one of the world leading companies in the field of atomic power engineering.

The biggest project currently being realized by Westron is implementation of Safety Parameter Display Systems (SPDS) in eleven Power Units (equipped with Pressurized Water Reactors) (VVER-1000) at the Ukrainian Nuclear Power Plants.

SPDS provides displaying of operative and trustworthy current data on NPP Power Unit functioning for NPP operators, thus supporting them a lot to act quickly and efficiently when there is a need to prevent or remove an emergency.

USA, within the frames of the existing Project on adding to safety of the Ukrainian NPPs, is to invest 26 million of USA dollars for the purpose. Practically, the whole bulk of the works to be done on the Project in Ukraine is performed by Westron at other Ukrainian companies. The Ukrainian Nuclear Power Generation Co. "Energoatom" (NAEK) comes out as Coordinator for all the works performed on the Project.

When paying his recent official visit to Kiyev, Mr. Bill Clinton, the USA President, said that the financial aid rendered to Ukraine by USA, and aimed at adding to safety of Ukrainian NPPs, will be increased by investing another $2 m. into the Project. A certain part of the added amount is to be spent on development of Westron Service Center, which is to be equipped with up-to-date equipment needed for performance of repairing activities. It is expected that the Westron Service Center will be doing repair of printed circuits, also of various components of the systems delivered by Westron. Some money is to be spend on adding to manufacturing potential of Westron.

Mr. Michael Chernyshov, the Westron Director General, points out that the design service life of the monitoring & control systems delivered by Westron to the Ukrainian NPPs is 2-3 time less as compared with the service life of the basic technological equipment (for example as it is compared with VVER-1000 service life). That is why the monitoring & control systems installed in NPPs are to be timely modernized - in order to provide for a safe running of NPP Power Units. The problem of modernization of the instrumentation & computer systems existing in Ukrainian NPPs has been facing the Ukrainian State Committee on Nuclear Power since the time this Agency was established (the year of 1992). In the year of 1993 the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine designated the Hartron Co to be the General Contractor for performance of the works on modernization of the NPPs Instrumentation & Computer Systems. So, it was then when the issue of development in Ukraine of up-to-date technologies (required for the purpose of the NPP ICS modernization) arose, also the issue of making use of the corresponding foreign technologies. At that it was assumed that the available in Ukraine scientific & manufacture resources would be used at their most. For example, objectively, at the moment, it is not within the powers of Ukraine to manufacture powerful enough electronic computer systems or workstations which are basis for NPP Power Unit information systems (as well as for SPDS). Economically, nowadays it is more reasonable for Ukraine to make use of the foreign technologies intended to be applied for the purpose of the control systems built on the basis of a most up-to-date hardware that is continuously being modernized. Saying this we mean only those elements that either cannot be produced in Ukraine at the moment or manufacture of which is momentously is unprofitable. At this, the principal scope of works ("intellectual" ingredient is included) - that is system design effort, hardware manufacture and the subsequent follow-up - should be left for Ukraine.

Correctness and expediency of the afore-said approach for Ukraine is just obvious. However, some candidates to become strategic partners of Ukraine proposed a scheme of partnership for Ukraine that seemed to be a more profitable one for those potential partners. Exactly, they proposed the following approach for the partnership: Ukraine was supposed to pay money for the delivered to Ukraine equipment or for the delivered turn-key objects. The only side, which from the very beginning agreed to transfer its technologies to Ukraine was the USA.

That is exactly why the Ukrainian State Committee on Nuclear Energy (GOSKOMATOM), together with HARTRON State-Owned Enterprise, took their decision on foundation of Ukrainian-USA Joint Venture - with Westinghouse as the partner. By that time (during the term of 40 years) Westinghouse had gain the experience of more than 1000 exclusively successful implementations across the world. A number of countries developed their nuclear power engineering by means of the technologies taken from Westinghouse. Among the countries are the Great Britain, France, Japan, Spain. From the very beginning the meaning of partnership for both sides, that is both for Hartron and Westinghous, was establishment of a real, full-fledged enterprise that would be capable to perform all kinds of works. Mr. Yakov Aizenebrg, the Hartron Co Director General and his close team really managed to display a real wisdom, also a way of thinking in the interests of Ukraine, when adopting the decision. The backbone of the Westron collective are high qualified experts who formerly were on the staff of the Hartron Co. The contribution from the side of Westinghouse were the technologies to Westron, also Westinghouse delivered the equipment required for Westron to start its activities. The Project "Hartron-Westinghouse" was rendered support from the sides of both the USA and Ukrainian Governments. It was decided to realize the Project within the Nann-Lugar Convertion Program.

The results were soon to come. As soon as one year after Westron was established it did the first delivery of its product to customer. The works on Computer & Information System (CIS) replacement at the South-Ukraine NPP were completed in 1998. It was the very first effort on CIS replacement at NPP equipped with PWR. At the moment the systems delivered by Westron are functioning in all the Ukrainian NPPs, the Chernobyl NPP included.

Recently Westron conducted Factory Acceptance Tests (FAT) of the system intended for the South-Ukraine NPP Power Unit No.3. This is the eighth in succession system (since the time the above-mentioned Program was started) delivered by Westron to the Ukrainian NPPs, also it is the second system to be delivered in the year 2000.

Today the scope of Westron's activities embraces the following:

    design of Monitoring & Control Systems;
    participation in the NPP projects being currently realized in Russia, Lithuania, Czechia;
    design and manufacture of new-generation instruments;
    development of up-to-date Service Center.

Westron is a Ukrainian enterprise the principal purpose of which is to work for the benefits of the national atomic power engineering.

Author: Inessa Tikhaya

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