Following the approval by the State Nuclear Regulatory Committee of Ukraine of an operating licence for Khmelnitsky 2, fuel loading commenced on 14 July.

The reactor is due to begin operating this month, with the Rovno 4 reactor scheduled to start up later in the year. The VVER-1000 reactors are being built by Energoatom, Ukraine’s state-owned nuclear power-generating company.

Earlier last month, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) approved a $42 million loan to modernise and improve safety for Khmelnitsky 2 and Rovno 4 (K2R4). In addition to the EBRD’s $42 million, the European Commission (EC) plans to lend a further $83 million. Previous offers of support by the EBRD and the EC for the completion of the units were turned down by the Ukraine government, which decided to finance the project itself.

Recently, at the fifth meeting of the European Union (EU)-Ukraine Cooperation Council, Ukraine came under pressure from EU representatives to reform its nuclear sector. EU ministers and officials especially called on Kiev to boost environmental standards in the industry. The Ukraine delegation was led by prime minister Viktor Yanukovych.