Russian crisis puts pressure on Kiev

1 October 1998

Russia’s financial problems may have a knock-on effect for Ukraine’s nuclear industry, according to Mikhail Umanets, newly appointed First Deputy Minister of Power and Head of the Ministry’s Nuclear Power Department. He told Nuclear Engineering International that before the crisis negotiations with Russia on possible co-operation in completion of the two partly built units at Rovno and Khmelnitsky nuclear plants were progressing well. “But now it is difficult to say what will happen.”

There are three possibilities: support from the EBRD, co-operation with Russia, and completion by Ukraine itself. “Ukraine is quite capable of completing these units without help, as it did unit 6 at Zaporozhye,” he points out. He adds that Ukraine also intends to complete two other units at Khmelnitsky. Unit 3 is 40% complete and unit 4 has its foundations in place.

In the longer term Ukraine has to think about replacing those nuclear units which will be due for decommissioning around 2012. “The first step will be to choose those reactors in the market which are best suited to Ukraine. Lack of finance is preventing much work being done on this at present. Nevertheless, we are planning to hold a presentation in Kiev by those companies developing new reactors.” He mentioned in particular projects involving teams from Westinghouse and BNFL, Siemens and Framatome, and Russia.

Just before the present economic crisis gripped Russia, Ukrainian Prime Minister Valery Pustovoytenko sent a letter to Russian Prime Minister Sergei Kiriyenko, asking for funds to be allocated in Russia’s 1999 budget for Russia’s participation in the completion of Rovno and Khmelnitsky units. “We are waiting for this aid, as we had planned to complete the construction in 1999,” Pustovoytenko said. Commenting on the results of a meeting with the Russian atomic energy minister, Yevgeny Adamov, he said agreement had been reached on Russia’s contribution to the completion of the units in the form of fuel and equipment supplies.

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