Australia to feed Ukraine nuclear power plants
Australia and Ukraine are set to sign a cooperation agreement in nuclear energy, which will see Canberra supplying the necessary uranium to feed the European country’s nuclear power plants.
The contract, said Australia's Foreign Minister Julie Bishop in a statement, will be signed before the Nuclear Security Summit, to be held from March 30 to April 2 in Washington DC, US.
But experts question the safety of Ukraine’s plans to increase nuclear energy production, as most of its plants are said to be too close to the end of their planned service life.
Experts are questioning the safety of Ukraine’s plans to increase nuclear energy production, as most of its plants are said to be too close to the end of their planned service life.
According to Ukrainian energy expert Aleksey Pasyuk, the majority of the nuclear power plants in Ukraine are passed their expiration date, but they continue to be used, Korrespondent.net reported (in Russian).
He even said that some of those reactors are currently running experimental fuel, which could lead to “a catastrophe.”
Ukraine's 1986 Chernobyl accident was one of the worst nuclear power plant disasters of all time. More than 300,000 people were evacuated from the town of Pripyat near to the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant because of nuclear contamination caused by a flawed Soviet reactor design coupled with serious mistakes made by the plant operators.
Australian minister Bishop said her country has the same kind of agreements with other countries, including Canada, China, France, India, Japan, South Korea, Russia, the UK and the US, adding that Australia is ranked first according to the Global Review Initiative on reducing Nuclear Threat Initiative.
Australia holds almost a third of the world's uranium resources but supplies only around 10% of global production.
In 2014-15 Australia exported more than 5,500 tonnes or uranium generating more than half a billion dollars in export income.