France’s Areva on 4 November signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Ukrainian nuclear utility Energoatom "to reinforce cooperation between the two companies for safety upgrades of existing and future nuclear power plants in Ukraine, lifetime extension and performance optimisation".

Michael Cerruti, commercial director of Areva’s Reactors and Services Business Group said the MOU demonstrates Areva’s engagement in Ukraine and its capacity to provide services for all types of nuclear reactors, including Russian-design VVER units.

The agreement covers areas and expertise in fields such as reactor maintenance and inspection, outage optimisation, electric systems, filtered containment venting systems as well as equipment and material obsolescence management. Energoatom President Yuriy Nedashkovsky said: "The collaboration between Areva subsidiaries and Ukrainian nuclear power plants started even before our companies were created. I hope that this MOU will reinforce the direct cooperation between our two companies."

At a press briefing in Brussels on 29 October, Nedashkovsky said Energoatom " is carrying out a very strong modernisation and reconstruction programme, which is being funded by the European Community, Euratom and the EBRD".

He noted that changes at Energoatom were part of a process started in March 2014, when the European Union and Ukraine signed an Association Agreement that heralded a new phase in the development of EU-Ukraine contractual relations, aiming at political association and economic integration. This followed the crisis with Russia and change of government in Ukraine.

Energoatom has since signed agreements with Belgian companies and strengthened its links with US-based companies Westinghouse Electric and Holtec International.