Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) offered an amendment to the Support for the Sovereignty, Integrity, Democracy, and Economic Stability of Ukraine Act (S. 2124) which would authorize the Secretary of Energy to immediately assist Ukraine in developing alternative nuclear fuel supplies for its nuclear industry. Currently, Ukraine is heavily dependent on Russian-built nuclear power plants to provide electricity for its economy. Four nuclear power plants, consisting of 15 reactors, provide 50 percent of Ukraine’s electricity generation. 100 percent of the nuclear fuel necessary to run the reactors is currently fabricated in Russia.

“Currently, about 50% of Ukraine’s electricity is generated from Russian-built nuclear power plants,” Portman stated. “Helping Ukraine diversify fuel sources for these plants is an important step to reduce the impact of Russian aggression and potential energy market manipulation.” 

The Department of Energy has had an ongoing partnership with Ukraine. From 2007 to 2010, DOE, Ukraine and the Westinghouse participated in the Ukraine Nuclear Fuel Qualification Program, which aimed to diversify Ukraine’s energy supplies and suppliers. The program culminated in the production of 42 nuclear fuel assemblies that were used to fuel a Ukrainian reactor in 2010. The U.S. and Ukraine have been partners in a Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy Agreement since 1998.