The regulatory authorities of Sweden, Norway and Ukraine have agreed to cooperate in making improvements to the regulatory guidelines of the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine as well as establishing more robust safety systems at nuclear power plants in the country.
The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority, Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority and the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine issued a joint statement yesterday, during Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg’s official visit to Ukraine. Sweden was represented at talks in Kiev by deputy director general Fredrik Hassel of the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority.
At the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague in March this year, Solberg and Sweden’s then Minister for Foreign Affairs, Carl Bildt, made a statement concerning Swedish-Norwegian cooperation with Ukraine on nuclear security and safety. This new cooperation will be reported on at the next Nuclear Security Summit to be held in the USA in 2016.
The Nuclear Security Summit – an international meeting that has been held every year since 2010 – was established following an initiative by US President Barack Obama.
During his visit, Solberg and Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk signed an intergovernmental agreement to support the budget of Ukraine worth $15 million, the Ukrainian government said.
In a statement, Yatsenyuk said the government has set itself the task of increasing the amount of power produced by nuclear reactors. “Therefore, the issue of the safety of nuclear reactors, which is the subject of the agreement we have signed, is extremely important,” he said.
This increase in electricity will be ensured, he said, by building up the capacity of state-run nuclear power producer Energoatom through cooperation with Norwegian companies and with Westinghouse, which is majority owned by Japan’s Toshiba. Energoatom produces nearly 65% of all electricity in Ukraine and operates all of the country’s nuclear power reactors.
Solberg and Yatsenyuk also signed an agreement on forming an intergovernmental commission on cooperation in trade, entrepreneurship and the economy.
Yatsenyuk referred to an agreement signed by the Naftogaz Ukrayiny and the Norwegian company Statoil that “allows Ukraine to purchase gas from the energy market leader” and “the conditions of this deal appear much more acceptable than any relationship with the Russian Gazprom.”
“If Norway, which is not a member of the European Union but fully shares European values, makes a decision regarding investment in the Ukrainian gas transportation system, the government is ready to change the law and provide the opportunity for Norwegian companies to directly invest in modernization and joint exploitation of the Ukrainian gas transportation system,” he said. Ukraine and Norway also aim to cooperate in the agricultural sector, he added.