Kiev, Moscow Sign Uranium Deal

Source:

"Plans include a JV that would enrich uranium for nuclear power."

Kiev signed a bilateral deal with Moscow to plan for the construction of a nuclear fuel plant in Ukraine, the country's energy minister said.

"This is very important for us because it is a great step to the closed nuclear fuel cycle in our country," Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuriy Boyko was quoted by Russia's state-run news agency RIA Novosti as saying. "We have 15 nuclear reactors and we should have our own nuclear fuel."

Both sides signed a long-term supply deal for nuclear fuel during the summer that was tied to the construction of a nuclear fuel plant in Ukraine. Kiev and Moscow said the plans include the development of a joint venture that would enrich uranium for nuclear power.

The deal came during a visit to Kiev by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to discuss energy cooperation with Ukraine.

Energy ties between both countries soured in part because of disputes over gas contracts and debt. Russian gas monopoly Gazprom cut gas supplies to Ukraine for weeks in January 2009, though an April deal secured a price discount for Kiev in exchange for an extended lease for the Russian Black Sea fleet in Crimea.

That deal was controversial for opposition leaders in Kiev who complained the deal moved their country too close to former patrons in the Kremlin.

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