Russia announces cancellation of Khmelnitsky agreement

16 January 2017

The Russian government has confirmed that its 2010 agreement with Ukraine on building a third and fourth reactor at the Khmelnitsky nuclear power plant has been cancelled. According to a statement posted on the Russian Foreign Ministry's website for legal information on 13 January, the intergovernmental agreement was terminated on 12 May last year.

The agreement was signed in Kiev on 9 June 2010 and ratified by the Ukrainian parliament on 12 January 2011. Under the contract, Russia was to provide financing for the amount required to design, construct and commission the two reactors, including for payments for services and goods supplied by Russia. Any components supplied from Ukraine for the project were to be financed from the Ukrainian budget.

But in July 2015, Rosatom rejected the then Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk's claim that the Russian state nuclear corporation had failed to honour the agreement on completion of the units. Ukraine subsequently cancelled its agreement with Russia and its parliament approved the decision on 16 September the same year.

Ukraine generates almost half its electricity from its 15 operating nuclear reactors, all Russian-designed pressurised water reactors. Operated by state-run Energoatom, the reactors are sited at four nuclear power plants - Zaporozhe, Rovno, South Ukraine and Khmelnitsky. The 15 units include 13 VVER-1000s and two VVER-440s with a total capacity of 13,835 MWe.

They include two units at the Khmelnitsky nuclear power plant, which is located in the town of Neteshin. Construction of Khmelnitsky 3 began in September 1985, while that of unit 4 started in June 1986. Work on the two units stopped in 1990 when they were 75% and 28% complete, respectively.

The Ukrainian government announced in September 2008 that construction would resume in 2010 for completion in 2016 and 2017.

Then in November the same year, Ukraine was reportedly considering the possibility of cooperation with China on the project.

In July 2015, the Ukrainian government approved a pilot project, named the "energy bridge", to transfer electricity from unit 2 of the Khmelnitsky plant to the European Union. Energoatom president and CEO Yury Nedashkovsky said at the time this project would not only fund the addition of two reactors, but will also "open up new prospects" for the country to export power to European markets.

In March last year, Energoatom, Ukrenergo and Polenergia signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on the project. Energoatom said the agreement will make it possible to use all its available nuclear capacity and attract funds for the completion of the third and fourth reactors of the Khmelnitsky plant.

In August, Energoatom and Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power signed an MOU on cooperation in the nuclear energy sector, with areas of cooperation to include completion of Khmelnitsky 3 and 4 and the Ukraine-EU "energy bridge" project.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News