The Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers has appointed Petr Kotin, director general of the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant, as temporary acting head of nuclear utility Energoatom, according to a decree published on the government portal on 29 March.

According to the document, Kotin will manage Energoatom until the end of the competition to select a permanent head of the company.

Previously, Kotin worked in the leadership of Energoatom as a production director. He replaces the previous temporary head, Pavel Pavlishin, who resigned.

The competition for the post of head of Energoatom was announced in early March. At the end of November 2019, the Cabinet of Ministers dismissed Yury Nedashkovsky Energoatom President citing "ineffective management" and suspicions of corruption.

Peter Kotin, born in 1961, graduated from the Moscow Engineering Physics Institute with a degree in Nuclear Power Plants and Installations. After completing his studies in 1985, he started working and rose through the ranks. He also headed the production unit at the Energoatom Directorate and worked with international partners. Since 2014, he has been leading the strategic project “Energy Bridge Ukraine – European Union”. In August 2019 he was appointed General Director of the Zaporozhye NPP.

On 2 April, Energoatom appointed Yuri Kulba as interim director of Zaporozhye, where he had worked for 35 years, most recently as chief engineer.  

When the Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Agriculture on 2 March announced the competition for the permanent post of Energoatom president it sparked protests from the nuclear industry and from parliament because the required qualifications were not as a nuclear specialist.

It asked for higher education in the field of "finance", "economics", "management", "business administration", "mathematical sciences", "engineering and technical sciences", "accounting and auditing", "law". It specified at least eight years of experience in senior positions (including in the field of nuclear energy) in government bodies, state enterprises, institutions, organisations and other legal entities.

“If the applicant passes the competition and is appointed to the position, he must within one year from the date of appointment receive a level of qualification in the use of nuclear energy defined by law.”

The State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine immediately stressed the need to include basic specialist qualification requirements in a letter to the office of the President of Ukraine, the National Security and Defence Council, the Cabinet of Ministers and the Verkhovna Rada (parliament) Committee on Energy and Housing and Communal Services, reported on 10 March.

In response, the Verkhovna Rada Committee, as well as elected representatives of the districts where nuclear power plants are located, addressed the leadership of the state and the Security Service of Ukraine insisting that Energoatom should be headed by an experienced specialist in the nuclear industry with relevant work experience. urged the president, government, SBU (security service) and the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine to change the terms of the competition and expressed the hope “that the sad history of staff appointments at Energoatom will finally be stopped”.