Ukraine plans to build four new nuclear reactors at the Khmelnitsky power plant in western Ukraine, in an effort to compensate for energy production hampered by Russia’s full-scale invasion, Reuters reports.

Ukraine’s Minister of Energy Herman Halushchenko said that construction of all four units would likely start from the summer.

Two Soviet-era VVER-1000 units are set to be built using Russian-made equipment imported from Bulgaria, while the other two AP-1000 units will be constructed using technology from Western power equipment maker Westinghouse.

In December 2023, Energoatom, Ukraine’s state enterprise operating existing nuclear plants, signed an agreement with Westinghouse to purchase equipment for Khmelnitsky’s fifth power unit.

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“With the third and fourth [Khmelnitsky units] we want to compensate for Zaporizhzhia, and now we are in talks with our Bulgarian partners on the two reactors we want to take.

“If we received the reactor vessels today, I think it would take two and a half years and we would have a third reactor [online],” said Halushchenko.

The minister added that Ukraine would need to pass legislation and draft new laws associated with the new units.

Ukraine currently has four nuclear power plants with 15 reactors. These are located in Khmelnitsky, Rivne, Mykolaiv and Zaporizhzhia, respectively.

The Zaporizhzhia plant is currently under Russian occupation and continues to pose a serious risk due to prolonged military activities around its perimeter of the plant. Reports also suggest that Russian troops have mined the surrounding area.

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At present the three plants under Ukrainian control provide 55 percent of the country’s electricity. 

Even though the country is heavily dependent on nuclear energy, the construction of additional nuclear reactors – particularly during wartime – could become a point of concern for some Ukrainians as some continue to suffer from the lingering effects of the Chornobyl nuclear disaster in 1986.

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