Grant Shapps, the Energy Security Secretary of the UK, declared that British assistance will play a crucial role in powering Ukraine’s nuclear plants. This statement followed his visit to the country. The UK government’s plan involves providing a loan guarantee of £192 million to support a UK-based company in supplying Ukraine with uranium enrichment services, a vital component of nuclear fuel. Currently, more than half of Ukraine’s electricity is generated through nuclear power, with the Zaporizhzhia plant being the largest. However, this plant is currently under Russian control.
During his visit, Shapps inspected a power station that had suffered significant damage due to Russian bombing. He engaged in discussions with senior Ukrainian ministers and energy industry representatives in Kyiv, focusing on the UK’s contribution to Ukraine’s recovery efforts. This aid will raise the UK’s non-military support to Ukraine to nearly £5 billion, enhancing Ukraine’s energy security amidst the Russian invasion and ensuring independence from Russian nuclear fuel.
Ukraine possesses four nuclear power plants, with Zaporizhzhia being the largest. Prior to the Russian invasion in February 2022, Ukraine had been heavily reliant on Russia for nuclear services and fuel. In an effort to reduce this dependence, Ukraine entered into a deal with US-based Westinghouse to supply fuel to all of its nuclear power stations. Shapps expressed unwavering support for Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression, emphasising that this action will help Ukraine diminish its reliance on Russian supplies and strengthen energy security.
The UK’s announcement aligns with the formation of a new nuclear fuel alliance by G7 energy ministers, including the UK, US, Canada, Japan, and France. This alliance aims to enhance the respective countries’ nuclear sectors and minimise Russia’s influence in the market. Additionally, other European nations are offering financial assistance through the Ukraine Energy Support Fund to repair Russia-inflicted damage to Ukraine’s energy infrastructure.
Notably, Grant Shapps had previously welcomed a Ukrainian family as part of the UK government’s Homes for Ukraine initiative. During his visit, he toured a kindergarten that had suffered from Russian shelling, where he was reminded of Nikita, a young member of the family. The children at the kindergarten performed a song, and Shapps shared a recorded message from Nikita.