UK energy minister in Kyiv announces $245 million for Ukraine nuclear fuel purchases

KYIV (Reuters) - Britain will guarantee a 192 million-pound ($245 million) export finance deal for Ukraine to buy nuclear fuel from producers including British companies, British energy minister Grant Shapps announced during a visit to Kyiv.

Ukraine's energy system was severely damaged by a massed campaign of Russian air strikes last winter, making it more reliant on its ageing nuclear power stations, which supplied about half the country's power before the war.

"This guarantee that we will be providing is to help Ukraine ensure that ... their nuclear fuel doesn't have to come via Russia in future," Shapps told Reuters.

"This money will guarantee that it will come from much more secure sources."

He said that one of those sources would be Urenco, a part-British nuclear fuel consortium.

Ukraine currently controls three of its four active nuclear plants.

The fourth, in the southern region of Zaporizhzhia, was captured by Russia last March, after Russia's Feb. 22, 2022, invasion. Both sides have since repeatedly accused each other of endangering the facility's safety.

(Reporting by Felix Hoske, writing by Max Hunder, editing by Nick Macfie)