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Ukraine’s state-owned nuclear utility Energoatom has agreed to strengthen its energy partnership with the US-based Westinghouse Electric Company.

The companies have signed expanded agreements to enable Westinghouse to supply all nuclear fuel for Energoatom’s operating atomic power stations in Ukraine.

The fuel will be supplied from Westinghouse’s fabrication site in Västerås, Sweden.

At the same time, Energoatom division Atomenergomash is currently undergoing a qualification process to manufacture top and bottom nozzles for Westinghouse fuel.

In addition, the companies have agreed to increase the number of AP1000 plants to be developed from five to nine units.

A Westinghouse Engineering Centre in Ukraine will be established to support the construction of planned AP1000 reactor projects, as well as Energoatom’s operating fleet and future decommissioning programme.

The agreements were signed by SE NNEGC Energoatom president Petro Kotin and Westinghouse president and CEO Patrick Fragman at the Khmelnytskyi NPP (KhNPP) site.

The first two AP1000 reactors will be built at the KhNPP site.

Fragman said: “Westinghouse is proud to sign these agreements to fully support Ukraine’s current operating fleet with our industry-leading fuels and services and to increase the number of committed new AP1000 plants from five to nine.

“We greatly value our long-standing partnership with Energoatom and look forward to the work ahead to help advance Ukraine’s carbon-free future.”

Kotin said: “Even during this challenging time, we continue to work actively with Westinghouse, our strategic partner.

“We will expand the areas and scope of cooperation and are confident that together, we will not only write a new chapter in the history of Ukraine’s nuclear energy, but also make an important contribution to the energy independence of Europe.”

According to a Reuters report, Ukraine has four working nuclear power stations. The new agreements are expected to reduce Ukraine’s reliance on Russian supplies.