Ukraine`s state-run atomic energy company Energoatom is to start construction of two new nuclear reactors from 2010 at the Khmelnitsky power station in the west of the country, the fuel and energy ministry said on Monday, according to Reuters.

The ministry, quoting remarks by Energy Minister Yuri Prodan during a visit to the plant, said authorities wanted to ensure `smooth financing` for the project,

which will bring to 17 the number of reactors operating in the ex-Soviet state.

It gave no details of costs or financing, but said the reactors would be brought on stream by the end of 2016.

Twenty-two years after the fire and explosion at the Chernobyl power plant, the world`s worst civil nuclear accident, few in Ukraine question the need to rely on and expand the use of nuclear power.

Ukraine`s four stations, with a capacity of 13,835 megawatts, account for 46.4 percent of all electricity produced.

The Khmelnitsky station`s first reactor went on stream in 1987 in Soviet times, while the second, left unfinished for many years amid post-Soviet financing difficulties, was completed in 2004 with help from the European Union.

Both are 1,000-megawatt pressurised water reactors.

The RBMK reactor that exploded at Chernobyl on April 26, 1986, found to contain many design faults, is no longer produced in the former Soviet Union.


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