IAEA TO FUND REINFORCEMENT OF CHORNOBYL SARCOPHAGUS. The International Atomic Energy Agency has announced it will create a fund to reinforce the concrete shield around the damaged reactor at the Chornobyl nuclear plant, Interfax and Reuters reported on 6 October. Environment Minister Yuri Kostenko was quoted as saying that the IAEA has launched an international appeal for $350 million to strengthen the so-called sarcophagus, which was hurriedly constructed around the reactor after the April 1986 accident. The total cost of the operation is put at $750 million. The Group of Seven leading industrialized countries has agreed to provide $300 million and Kyiv $50 million.

UKRAINE, RUSSIA TO ESTABLISH JOINT VENTURE ON NUCLEAR FUEL. Ukraine and Russia plan to set up a joint venture to supply Ukraine's nuclear stations with fuel, Interfax-Ukraine and Reuters reported on 6 October. An unnamed government source in Kyiv said Ukraine's State Property Fund will take a 30 percent stake in the venture on behalf of the state Energoatom company, while Russia's OAO TVEL, which is the sole supplier of fuel for Ukraine's nuclear plants, will have a 35 percent share. The remaining 35 percent will be divided between Ukraine's VA-Bank, Russia's Inkombank, and the UkrainianAndorran AMP joint venture. According to Interfax-Ukraine, the venture is due to be finalized in December and will allow most payments through barter of food and metals. Under a 1994 deal between Ukraine, Russia, and the U.S., Ukraine transferred all strategic nuclear warheads to Russia for destruction in exchange for free fuel. That deal is due to expire by year's end.