The President of Ukrainian nuclear utility, Energoatom, Petro Kotin has signed contracts in London with Tim Gitzel, President of Canada’s Cameco to extend agreements on fuel supplies. The signing ceremony was attended by the Minister of Energy of Ukraine Herman Halushchenko (online); the High Commissioner of Canada to the UK, Ralph Goodale; and the Ambassador of Ukraine to the UK, Vadym Prystaiko.

"In accordance with the agreements, between 2024 and 2035 Energoatom will be fully provided with natural uranium hexafluoride, which will be supplied for enrichment and further use in the production of nuclear fuel. It is also expected to sell uranium mined at the Ukraine’s VostokGOK [Eastern Mining & Processing Plant] to Canada," the Ukrainian Energy Ministry said in a statement on its website.

Energoatom and Cameco said in February that they had agreed on commercial terms for the supply in 2024-2035 of uranium hexafluoride, which will be used in the production of nuclear fuel for nuclear power plants in Ukraine. Cameco is expected to supply 100% of Energoatom's uranium hexafluoride needs for reactors at the Rovno, Khmelnitsky and Southern Ukrainian Nuclear Power Plants during the term of the contract. The total demand of these plants for the 12-year period is about 15,300 tonnes of uranium hexafluoride (the equivalent of about 40.1m pounds of uranium concentrate (U3O8).

“We are grateful and glad to be the partner of Energoatom and Ukraine in the nuclear sector. Our teams have cooperated efficiently in order to get to the signing of these arrangements and agree to collaborate at least until 2035, said Gitzel. “This is one of the largest and most important contracts for Cameco. Our company will help Ukraine retain its energy independence.”.

According to Kotin, the agreements are extremely important as Energoatom has terminated all contracts for supply of nuclear fuel from Russia. He also added that taking into account the situation in the global market and the existing shortage of conversion capabilities, the contracts would guarantee stability in nuclear fuel supply.

The contracts also contain an option for Cameco to supply up to 100% of the fuel requirements for the six reactors at the Zaporizhia NPP, currently under Russian control, should it return to Energoatom’s operation. If this option was exercised in 2024, the plant would require around 27.2m pounds of U3O8 over the contract period.

Kotin said that the two agreements paved the way for concluding a third agreement, on specific quantities of uranium product supply, adding: "Cooperation with Cameco is strategic and necessary for Energoatom, because together with Westinghouse we continue to move to Western standards. The development of domestic nuclear energy is possible only thanks to cooperation with our international partners."

Image: Tim Gitzel (L) and Petro Kotin (R) at the signing ceremony (courtesy of Cameco)