U.S.-based Westinghouse Electric Company is close to a long-term agreement with Ukraine to supply nuclear fuel for the country's reactors, The Wall Street Journal reported. Westinghouse said it could amend its contract with Energoatom, Ukraine's state-owned energy operator, and extend the agreement.
Ukraine operates VVER 1000 commercial nuclear power plants made in Russia. Westinghouse and Rosatom, Russia's national nuclear corporation, are the primary producers of the fuel for these reactors. Ukraine mainly has its nuclear fuel supplied by Rosatom. Westinghouse provides nuclear fuel to two of southern Ukraine's reactors with the first delivery taking place in 2010.
Ilona Zayets, a spokesperson for Energoatom, said the U.S. energy developer and Ukraine are almost at the point of finalizing the deal. Westinghouse spokesperson Hans Korteweg also confirmed that the energy company is in talks with Energoatom about the contract.
Ukraine's Energy and Coal Industry Minister Yuriy Prodan said the move is part of the country's strategy to diversify supplies in its energy sector, Ukrainian Journal reported. Russia's state-owned natural gas corporation Gazprom had raised prices for natural gas in Ukraine by 44 percent after President Vladimir Putin voided a previous discount agreement.