NUCLEAR SUBMARINES, WASTE SITES POSE THREAT... Nuclear submarines and nuclear waste sites in northern Russian could cause a large-scale nuclear disaster, AFP reported, on 19 November, quoting the head of the Duma Committee on Northern Russia. "A new Chornobyl threatens the north of Russia, as well as Norway, Sweden, and Finland," Vladimir Goman told a press conference. He said the danger emanates from old nuclear submarines and deposits full of nuclear waste that can be found in the region. The Russian Arctic Fleet has 90 nuclear submarines on dry docks, of which 75 percent are dangerous, Goman said. "The reprocessing of all the waste accumulated in Russia is going to cost at least $100 billion," he added. Russia intends to organize an international conference on the reprocessing of nuclear waste in 1998. AW

...AS DO AGING NUCLEAR REACTORS. If Russia does not act quickly to replace its aging nuclear reactors, the country could witness an accident possibly worse than the 1986 Chornobyl disaster, according to Aleksei Chadaev, the editor of "Slavia." Chadaev wrote in "Nezavisimaya Gazeta" on 20 November that only 1 trillion out of the 10 trillion rubles (some $2 billion) budgeted to modernize Russia's nine nuclear power stations has been allocated. He noted the reactors at the Bilibin nuclear power station will be outdated by 2006 and claims that the situation is also critical at the Kursk, Leningrad, and Novovoronezh nuclear facilities. The government envisions replacing obsolete equipment at already operating facilities and constructing new nuclear stations by 2010. AW

UKRAINIAN PRIME MINISTER POSTPONES BAKU VISIT. Valeriy Pustovoytenko has postponed a visit to the Azerbaijani capital scheduled for 20 November, ANS-Press reported, quoting a Ukrainian consular official in Baku. No reason was cited for the postponement. Pustovoytenko and the Azerbaijani government were to have discussed prospects for exporting part of Azerbaijan's Caspian oil via Ukraine. LF

KUCHMA SEES OFF UKRAINIAN COSMONAUT. Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma was in Florida on 19 November to watch the launch of a U.S. shuttle carrying the first Ukrainian cosmonaut, Leonid Kadenyuk, Interfax-Ukraine reported. Kadenyuk, who will conduct botanical experiments during the 16-day flight, is part of a growing U.S.-Ukrainian space cooperation program. Meanwhile, Ukrainian and U.S. military personnel began a computer simulation of peacekeeping in the imaginary republic of Govinia as part of the "Peace Shield 97" exercises between the two countries. PG

UKRAINIAN GROUPS LAY CLAIM TO NAZI GOLD. Two Ukrainian organizations representing victims of the Nazi occupation of their country released a communique to Western journalists asserting their right to part of the Nazi gold deposited in Swiss banks. "Not all the stolen goods belonged only to Jews," the release said, asserting that "goods and jewelry from Ukrainian prisoners were confiscated and once dead, their gold teeth were torn out." PG

PILOTS STRIKE CRIPPLES UKRAINE'S DOMESTIC AVIATION. Pilots of Ukraine Airlines, who have been on strike since early November (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 7 November 1997), stepped up the pressure on 19 November by picketing the parliament, Ukrainian media reported. The pilots are demanding the payment of back wages as well as increased salaries and better pensions. Their strike has shut down virtually all domestic flights and some routes to Eastern Europe as well. PG