Ukraine postpones signing nuclear fuel deals with Russia: report
Ukrainian national nuclear energy company Energoatom has delayed signing a series of deals with Russian state-owned nuclear fuel company TVEL, local media reported on Tuesday.
Energoatom and TVEL were scheduled to sign a contract on the supply of fresh nuclear fuel to Ukraine after 2010 and a memorandum on the construction of a plant to produce fuel for Ukrainian nuclear power plants on July 15, 2009, the Ukrainian newspaper Delo reported, citing a source close to the negotiation process, Xinhua reported.
Ukraine operates four nuclear power plants, which generated over 90,000 GWh in 2008. The country mines uranium, but has no industrial capacity for its enrichment. All of Ukraine's nuclear fuel is imported from Russia under an agreement that expires in 2010.
Ukraine has also started cooperation with U.S.-based Westinghouse. The company currently supplies fuel to the South Ukraine nuclear power plant, whose reactors were designed to operate on Russian fuel, according to the paper.
At the same time, if Energoatom signs a deal with Russia's TVEL on nuclear fuel supplies until 2026, the expediency of continuing cooperation with Westinghouse will be questioned, the paper noted.
Delo cited Olga Kosharnaya, a leading researcher of the Institute of National Security Issues at the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council as saying that the Ukrainian-Russian talks were being delayed over TVEL's attempt to consolidate entire nuclear fuel cooperation with Ukraine into a single package of long-term contracts slated for signing.