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KIEV, June 19. /TASS/. Ukraine has signed a 260 million US dollar worth agreement with a U.S. bank to finance projects in the nuclear sector, Ukrainian Minister of Energy and Coal Industry Igor Nasalik said on Sunday.
He said the agreement was reached during a recent US visit by a Ukrainian government delegation led by Prime Minister Vladimir Groisman. "An agreement was signed, including by the ministry, with an American bank worth 260 million U.S. dollars, which provides for a possibility to diversify flows and supplies of nuclear fuel elements to replace them by Westinghouse, and nuclear waste too," he said in an interview with the 112 Ukraina television channel. He provided no further details.
Currently, Westinghouse fuel assemblies are loaded into the third power unit of the South Ukraine NPP (along with fuel assemblies from Russia’s TVEL Company). As Ukraine’s State Nuclear Regulation Inspection earlier told TASS, the department "has no principled claims to the operation of Westinghouse fuel at this power unit."
President of Ukraine’s NPP operator Energoatom Yuri Nedashkovsky said earlier bigger use of fuel from US Westinghouse Company at Ukrainian nuclear power plants does not breach Ukraine’s contractual obligations with Russia on fuel delivery by Russia’s TVEL.
However TVEL Fuel Company Vice-President Oleg Grigoryev said Russia had not received any official notice from Ukraine on loading Westinghouse fuel into the reactors of the South Ukraine NPP. According to him, in case of receiving the notice, "measures of juridical nature will be taken as the load of the US nuclear fuel into Ukrainian reactors is a breach of the contract."
Energoatom and Westinghouse have been cooperating since 2000 under the project of introducing US fuel at Ukrainian NPPs.
In April 2012, damages of US fuel cassettes were found at the third power unit of the South Ukraine NPP. A special inter-departmental commission found that the damage had been caused by design defects. In 2014, the Ukrainian leadership readdressed the issue of diversifying nuclear fuel deliveries and the contract with Westinghouse was extended to 2020.