Ukraine passes bill to secure Euratom loan

20 May 2020

The Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s upper house of parliament, has adopted a draft law on nuclear safety that enables state-run nuclear power plant operator Energoatom to secure a EUR200 million (USD220 million) loan from Euratom. The parliament said yesterday it had approved "in the second reading and as a whole" draft law №2373 On Amendments to Certain Laws of Ukraine on the Safety of Nuclear Energy Use.

Ukraine aims to ensure regulatory independence (Image: Pixabay)

Energoatom operates four nuclear power plants in Ukraine - Khmelnitsky, Rivne, South-Ukraine and Zaporozhe - with a combined installed capacity of 13,168 MWe. To help fund its safety upgrade programme, Energoatom has EUR600 million in loan agreements with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and Euratom, which came into force at the end of 2014 and in May of 2015, respectively.

"With the adoption of the Law, Ukraine has fulfilled its international obligations to comply with the principle of independence of the state regulatory body for nuclear and radiation safety," Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said yesterday in a government statement. The regulatory authority had been effectively placed under the control of Energoatom in 2016.

Ensuring the independence of the country's nuclear regulator is one of the conditions of the Memorandum of Understanding on a Strategic Energy Partnership between Ukraine and the EU, as well as one of the conditions of the 'guarantee agreement' between Ukraine as a guarantor and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) as a creditor to disburse a loan to Energoatom for the implementation of the Comprehensive Programme for Improving the Safety of Nuclear Power Plants. The programme was developed by Energoatom taking into account the recommendations of the joint project of the European Commission, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Ukraine on improving safety and was approved by a resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine.

The government said yestreday that restoring the independent status of the regulator will in fact restore Ukraine's ability to comply with international regimes and the safety standards of the IAEA and European law in terms of state regulation of nuclear and radiation safety.

"As a result, Ukraine regains the status of a state responsible for nuclear safety, while Energoatom is given the opportunity to continue using the Euratom loan in the amount of EUR200 million," it said.

The government noted that the EUR600 loan was the biggest Ukraine had received from European institutions in the history of its energy sector.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News