Russia claims it is still talking with Ukraine over nuclear project

Russia’s nuclear agency Rosatom has said that negotiations are still underway on expanding Ukraine’s Khmelnitsky Nuclear Power Plant despite reports this week that Ukraine had cancelled the project.

As tensions mounted in Ukraine yesterday, with its government announcing the capture of nine Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory, a Rosatom representative told Russian news agency RIA Novosti that it had not received any notice about Ukraine’s pulling out of the construction project to build the third and fourth power units at the plant, and that both sides are continuing negotiations.

"We have been negotiating with the Energy Ministry, and continue to do this," the Rosatom spokesperson said yesterday. "As of today, the Russian party has not received any official notice of cancellation or suspension of the project."

But on the same day, Yuri Nedashkovsky, the president of Ukraine’s nuclear plants operator Energoatom, told the press that Ukraine had abandoned the joint project and had cancelled another, agreed in 2011, for the supply of VVER-1000 reactors by Russia.

According to the World Nuclear Association (WNA), Ukraine is heavily dependent on nuclear energy. It has 15 reactors generating about half of its electricity, with most services and fuel coming from Russia.

In 2012, 5000-to-7000 MWe of new nuclear capacity was proposed by 2030, costing some $25 billion, the WNA states.

Ukraine’s best-known nuclear power plant was Chernobyl (pictured), which suffered a meltdown in 1986 accident.

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