Grant Shapps announced, during a visit to Kyiv on Tuesday, Aug. 22, that the UK is to provide a £192 million ($240 million) loan guarantee to Ukraine’s national nuclear company, Energoatom via the UK’s export credit agency, UK Export Finance.

With nuclear power generating more than half of Ukraine’s electricity the need to strengthen its energy security has become a priority for Kyiv and its partners. Ukraine has four nuclear power plants, including Europe’s largest, the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in the city of Enerhodar, and prior to the 2022 full-scale invasion received most of its nuclear services and fuel from Russia.

Ukraine has been striving to maintain its independence from Russian nuclear fuel since then.

It has been reducing its dependence and in June last year signed a deal with US company Westinghouse to supply fuel to all its nuclear power stations.

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Shapps said: “Our support for Ukraine is unwavering in the face of Putin’s barbaric invasion. The UK continues to stand with Ukraine as they repel Russian attacks and rebuild their country.

“Being here on the ground, it’s truly remarkable witnessing firsthand the sheer courage, resolve and gritty determination of the Ukrainian people.”

These new guarantees will finance the UK-based company Urenco, which has been a supplier of uranium enrichment services to Energoatom since 2009, to provide additional support to the country’s nuclear industry, help end the country’s dependence on nuclear services and nuclear fuel from Russia, as well as further isolate Vladmir Putin.

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He later added: “Putin has used energy as a weapon of war. The action today, to support nuclear fuel deliveries, will help Ukraine end their reliance on Russian supplies and bolster their energy security.”

A spokesperson for the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero said this would bring the total of the UK’s non-military assistance to Ukraine to almost £5 billion ($6.3 billion).

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Shapps had meetings with Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister, Oleksandr Kubrakov and its Minister for Energy, German Galushchenko as well as Energoatom’s President Petro Kotin.

Mr Shapps’ visit came just three days before Ukraine celebrates gaining its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

He carried out a number of visits to view damage caused by Russian attacks, including a power station undergoing repairs and the children’s nursery where he shared a message from Nikita, the son of the family he had sponsored under the UK’s Homes for Ukraine scheme, who had attended the nursery before the war.

Grant Shapps plays message from Nikita at a Kyiv kindergarten

Photo: UK Department for Energy Security

The latest UK commitment follows on from May’s G7 announcement, made during the Japan summit, of a new nuclear fuel alliance aimed at strengthening the sector and ending much of the reliance on Russian supplies.

Financial support, to repair war damage caused by Russia to Ukraine’s energy infrastructure and maintain its supplies, is being provided through Europe’s “Ukraine Energy Support Fund.”

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