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Slovakia Stops Relying on Russia for Nuclear Fuel

A new deal with US firm Westinghouse means that 18 months after Russia invaded Ukraine, Slovakia has diversified its suppliers of crucial energy materials and is now looking to France for another source.

Almost 60% of energy produced by Slovakia comes from nuclear power plants, which, in turn, come exclusively from Russian nuclear fuel. That will no longer be the case after an international tender secured an agreement to supply Slovenské elektrárne with “the only fully Western alternative”.

“Securing another supplier of nuclear fuel for our power plants is an important step towards strengthening Slovakia’s energy security. Nuclear power plants are an important pillar in the energy mix of our country, so I consider it crucial to ensure diversification of nuclear fuel supplies for their stable operation,” said Branislav Strýček, CEO of Slovenske elektrární.

However, the fuel must first go through an approval process specifically for its use in Slovak nuclear reactors. First, non-Russian fuel deliveries will then arrive “within a year”.

The deal aligns with the EU’s goal of ending its reliance on Russian energy. While most EU sanctions focus on fossil fuels, Slovakia found itself reliant on an aggressor state in the nuclear sector.

Slovenské elektrárne aims to acquire at least one additional energy fuel supplier.

In May, the electricity producer signed a memorandum of cooperation with French company Framatom, pointing to another potential source.

Westinghouse is a US company, but the contract with Slovakia was signed with its Swedish subsidiary.

“We are very pleased to contribute to Slovakia’s fuel diversification and to strengthen our long-standing partnership with Slovenské elektrárne,” said Tarik Choho, President of Nuclear Fuel at Westinghouse.

“We offer the only fully Western alternative fuel for this type of reactor and remain committed to supporting Slovakia’s operating fleet, leveraging our Swedish fabrication footprint,“ he added.