Ukraine and France discuss cooperation in nuclear energy

01 February 2016

French diplomats met with Ukrainian parliamentarians last week to discuss increased cooperation between the two countries in nuclear energy. Ukrainian nuclear power plant operator Energoatom announced on 29 January that a meeting with the parliamentary Committee on the Fuel and Energy Complex, Nuclear Policy and Nuclear Safety had been held the previous day on the initiative of the French embassy in Kiev.

The meeting was chaired by the committee's first deputy chairman, Alexander Dombrowski, and was attended by Energoatom representatives and French embassy officials, including Frédéric de Touchet, first counselor to the ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of France to Ukraine - Isabelle Dumont - and Vincent Falkoz, an economic advisor at the embassy.

They discussed in particular, Energoatom said, "the need to develop nuclear energy as a low-carbon source in response to the requirements of the new global climate agreement", as well as the Ukrainian nuclear sector's increasing independence from its traditional partner, Russia.

The Ukrainian side was represented by Sergiy Bozhko, chairman of the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine, Vladimir Pishniy, vice president of Energoatom, and Konstantin Zapaishchikov, advisor to the president of Energoatom - Yury Nedashkovsky.

"The French embassy has proposed a parliamentary committee partnership aimed at studying France's experience in implementing EU directives and French legislation concerning nuclear energy," Energoatom said.

They also discussed the possibility of joint participation in addressing issues of global nuclear safety, "which is important in the context of 'post-Fukushima' measures carried out at nuclear power plants in Ukrainian and around the world", the company added.

Dombrowski invited the French delegates to committee hearings next month "for a more detailed study of the actual situation facing nuclear energy and nuclear safety in Ukraine".

Energoatom noted that Ukraine and France "are the European leaders" in terms of the share of nuclear energy in their respective electricity generation mix. Last year, nuclear power accounted for more than 55% of Ukraine's electricity production, making the country second in Europe only to France, where the share of nuclear power was 75%.

In November last year, Energoatom and French engineering group Areva signed a memorandum of understanding "to reinforce cooperation between the two companies for safety upgrades of existing and future nuclear power plants in Ukraine, lifetime extension and performance optimization". It was signed by Michael Cerruti, commercial director of Areva's Reactors and Services Business Group, and Energoatom's Nedashkovsky. Cerruti said after the signing that the MOU demonstrates Areva's engagement in Ukraine and its capacity to provide services for all types of nuclear reactors, including Russian-design VVER units.

Energoatom opened an office in Brussels in November 2014 tasked with adapting Ukrainian regulations to European standards; cooperating more closely with European institutions, including the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and Euratom, the nuclear watchdog of the EU; and expanding Energoatom's range of partners for joint projects in Ukraine and Europe.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News