Russia’s Foreign Ministry accused Ukraine of endangering public safety in Europe with its decision to buy nuclear fuel for its Soviet-built nuclear plants from a U.S. supplier, saying Ukrainian leaders had failed to learn anything from the 1986 Chernobyl disaster about safe nuclear energy usage.”Moscow was somehow alarmed” over the deal announced earlier in the day by Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk for Kiev to buy fuel for its nuclear plants from U.S. company Westinghouse through the year 2020, the ministry said in a statement posted on its website.
“Consequences of possible accidents and meltdowns will be the full responsibility of the Ukrainian authorities and U.S. suppliers of the fuel,” the statement added.
The shift in supplier for the Ukrainian plants that produce 44% of the country’s electricity was part of an effort across Eastern Europe to diversify fuel supplies currently sourced almost exclusively from Russia’s monopoly Rosatom.
Westinghouse, majority-owned by the Toshiba Group and the builder and operator of more than half of the nuclear plants around the world, noted it “has been working in the Ukrainian market since 2003, and brings diversification of suppliers, global best practices and technology to the Ukraine market.
“Westinghouse fuel is currently operating safely and efficiently at the South Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant without any defects in performance,” the company noted in a statement from its global headquarters near Pittsburgh.