President Yushchenko emphasized that developing nuclear power was not only a matter of national energy and economic security, but is also an politically integral issue for the stability of the country.
As the Ukrainian head of state remarked in his introduction, the goal of the conference is to create a proposal that lies on the foundation of a presidential decree or instruction concerning the development of nuclear energy. A wide range of issues are being discussed, from possible changes in the 2007 federal budget to the construction of a special plant for processing zirconium on the site of Frunze Scientific-industrial Complex.
The President noted that domestic uranium enrichment in Ukraine comprised just a third of the need for the national nuclear energy program – the rest they needed to buy on the foreign market at monopoly prices. Under such conditions it could possible create an economy in this sphere of approximately 150 million dollars a year, which would be “competitive and effective”. He furthermore reminded attendees that Ukraine had the greatest reserves of uranium ore in Europe, the mining of which only two companies were involved in and with only one company involved in the enrichment process.
The President was confident that in the near future Ukraine could increase uranium production to one thousand tons a year, with prospects of reaching up to three thousand tons a year, which would allow it to meet its domestic demand. He also noted a potential for developing zirconium production, speculating that the special plant in Sumy would pay for itself after just three to four years, given the rise in prices for this material on the world market, RIA-Novosti reported.