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    Ukraine signs deal with U.S. firm on nuclear fuel supplies

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    Ukraine's nuclear power utility Energoatom said on Monday it had signed a contract with the U.S.-based Westinghouse Electric Company on fuel supplies for its nuclear power plants.

    KIEV, March 31 (RIA Novosti) - Ukraine's nuclear power utility Energoatom said on Monday it had signed a contract with the U.S.-based Westinghouse Electric Company on fuel supplies for its nuclear power plants.

    Ukraine, which relies almost entirely on Russia for its nuclear fuel imports, has stepped up efforts in recent years to diversify supplies amid rising prices and energy disputes with Russia.

    The document signed by the parties stipulates nuclear fuel supplies for Ukrainian nuclear power plants in 2011-2015.

    The strong level of energy dependence on Russia, which also has almost total control over Ukraine's natural gas supply, prompted President Viktor Yushchenko to announce plans in January 2006 to create nuclear fuel production facilities.

    The decision was sparked by a fuel price hike by Russian corporation TVEL in late 2005, and a natural gas debt row with Russia's state gas giant Gazprom at New Year 2006, during which Russia turned the taps off to Ukraine.

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