French energy giant EDF and Ukrainian nuclear company Energoatom, both state-owned companies, have signed an agreement to cooperate on nuclear projects.

The agreement covers the study of EDF’s gigawatt-scale European pressurised reactor and Nuward small modular reactor technologies as well as the “exchange of experience in the operation of nuclear power plants, maintenance of safety, reliability and efficiency of reactors”.

Petro Kotin, Energoatom’s chairman, said: “Ukraine, like France, has unique experience in the nuclear industry. Therefore, our active cooperation and joint efforts in increasing the role of nuclear energy on the European continent will contribute to the achievement of climate goals and ensuring the stable production of clean and safe electricity.”

The two entities also agreed to ensure the supply of nuclear fuel for Soviet-era water-water energetic reactors for countries wanting to move away from Russian supply.

Alongside EDF and Energoatom’s agreement, the governments of the two countries agreed to a 20-year renewal of their 1998 agreement on the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

Ukraine’s Economy Minister Yulia Svyridenko and French Foreign Minister Stephane Séjournay signed to renewal of the agreement, which expired four years ago, establishing the legal framework for cooperation in the field of nuclear facilities.

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Ukraine currently has 15 nuclear reactors that produce 50% of the country’s electricity. Its industry has come under threat since Moscow took the Zaporizhzhia plant, which houses six nuclear units, under its military control in 2022.

US nuclear company Westinghouse Electric is stepping into Ukraine to keep existing reactors running and construct new ones. In April, workers poured the first concrete for unit 5 at the Khmelnitsky nuclear power plant, signalling the commencement of construction of what will be one of Westinghouse’s signature AP1000 reactors.