KIEV, Oct. 4 (Xinhua) -- Ukrainian state firm Nuclear Fuel and Russian fuel company TVEL on Thursday began the construction of a nuclear fuel plant in Ukraine.
"Today we have launched a big project, the biggest during Ukraine's independence, to ensure the energy independence of our country," Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov told journalists after a ceremony marking the start of the construction in the central Kirovograd region.
The first phase of the project is expected to be completed by 2015, Azarov said, adding that the whole construction will be finished by 2020.
Total investment on the project, with a designed capacity of 400 tons of uranium per year, will reach 462.5 million U.S. dollars, he said.
Azarov also emphasized that the new environment-friendly venture will boost the economy of the Kirovograd region and increase employment.
Ukraine and Russia signed an agreement on the construction of the plant in 2010. The two sides also intend to establish a joint venture on uranium enrichment in Russia.