Ukraine's Energy Ministry explains possible talks with Russia's TVEL by Chinese CNEIC's plans to buy Russian stake in Ukrainian project
The Ministry of Energy and Coal Industry of Ukraine has explained possible talks with the Russian company TVEL on the construction of a nuclear fuel plant in Ukraine. The ministry said a tripartite negotiation on the purchase by China Nuclear Energy Corporation (CNEIC) of the Russian stake in the Ukrainian project is needed, the ministry's press service reported.
"In June 2018, CNEIC's management sent an invitation to hold tripartite talks on the participation of the Chinese side in the construction of a plant for the production of nuclear fuel in Ukraine. The terms of the Chinese side's participation in the implementation of the project, the purchase of the stake belonging to TVEL and the determination of priority steps in cooperation are planned to be discussed at the talks (in Brussels on July 9-12)," the ministry said.
CNEIC can not only buy out the Russian stake in the project, but also ensure full financing of the construction of the plant, it said.
The ministry also notes that at the talks, it will seek the return by TVEL of the prepayment the Russian company once received for the manufacture of equipment for the future plant. Ukraine prepaid $5.2 million.
As reported with reference to a June 27 letter (No. 01/1-5219) sent by Ukrainian Energy Minister Ihor Nasalyk to Kirill Komarov, the First Deputy General Director of Russia's Rosatom, which incorporates TVEL, the Ukrainian Energy Ministry considers it necessary to resume joint construction of a nuclear fuel production plant with Russian TVEL in Ukraine.
Prior to the annexation of Crimea by Russia, Ukraine planned the construction of a plant in Ukraine's Kirovograd region to fabricate nuclear fuel based on the technology of the Russian fuel company TVEL. PrJSC named "Plant for the Production of Nuclear Fuel" was created, in which Ukrainian state-owned concern "Nuclear Fuel" owns 50% plus one share, and TVEL has 50% minus one share.
In 2015, the plant was to start producing fuel elements and fuel assemblies, as well as zirconium components and components made of stainless steel, and in 2020 it was to start manufacturing fuel powders and tablets. The total cost of the construction of the plant was estimated at $450 million.
In February 2016, Ukraine's State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate turned down the application of the "Plant for the Production of Nuclear Fuel" for a license for the construction of the fuel plant. At the same time, TVEL's annual report stated its readiness to return to the project in Ukraine on the same terms.