[RIA Novosti, 21 October] Ukraine expects to sign a long-term contract for Russian nuclear fuel supplies before the end of 2009, according to Natalya Shumakova, the Ukrainian deputy energy minister. Ukraine's current contract with Russia's TVEL runs out next year. "Our position is that it should be signed as soon as possible," she said. The contract was to be signed in October, Shumakova said, but was delayed. She did not give a reason for the delay. Vasily Konstantinov, vice president of TVEL, previously blamed the delay on Ukrainian authorities. Energoatom is the national electricity generator in Ukraine, which uses 15 reactors planned in the Soviet era for almost half of the country's electricity generation. It has longstanding contracts with Russia's TVEL for fuel supply but has recently signalled that it will be unable to make the advanced payments required by contract.