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Ukraine to Renounce a Project to Build a Nuclear Fuel Factory with Russia

Cutting off the nose to spite the face? Ukraine is dependent on Russian nuclear fuel imports

KIEV, April 29, (TASS) - Ukraine plans renouncing a joint project with Russia, under which the two countries were to build a factory for the production of nuclear fuel, the Minister of Energy and Coalmining, Vladimir Demchishin told TASS on Wednesday.

"We’ll denounce the agreement and, in most probability, this will be done by law," he said. "This agreement was poorly drafted and there are dubious questions around the commitment of certain parties."

"The project is quite interesting, actually, but there’s no decision yet on how to put it into practice, and we’re discussing it with other theoretical participants," Demchishin said.

Alexander Merten, the chief of Rusatom International Network company, who is simultaneously the official representative of the Russian nuclear power corporation Rosatom in Ukraine, said earlier the corporation was awaiting an official statement from the Ukrainian side regarding further actions under the project.

"At present, the project is frozen by the Ukrainian side and we don’t have any official information from them if they are going to suspend it or to maintain their participation in it and that’s why we’re awaiting an official response from them," he said.

Merten said Rosatom had sent letters on the issue to its Ukrainian counterparts. He recalled that the project specifications for the enterprise had been full ready, the initial works at the site of the future factory had been done and a manufacturer in Novosibirsk had built the necessary equipment, which had been fully paid for by the Russian side.

Under the initial plans, the factory was to be built in the township of Smolino, Ukraine’s central Kirovograd region. This project is one of the largest in the sphere of Russia-Ukrainian cooperation in nuclear power engineering.

The shareholders of the joint venture that is supposed to oversee the construction project are the Russian fuel corporation TVEL (50% minus one share) and the Ukrainian state corporation Yadernoye Toplivo (Nuclear Fuel, 50% plus one share).

Each side was expected to invest some $120 million in the project by equal installments, while the rest of the funds were to be borrowed from Russia’s Sberbank.

The first turn of the factory was to come on stream this year.

Rosatom is awaiting practical steps from Kiev regarding the project of a joint Russian-Ukrainian nuclear fuel factory, Sergei Novikov, the official spokesman for the corporation told TASS on Wednesday.

"There's nothing to comment on yet," Novikov said regarding Demchishin’s remark. "Let's wait and see the practical steps, not the statements," he said.

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