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Press Release

Ukraine and Chornobyl disaster

April 22, 1999


13 years ago on 26 April 1986 in the proximity of the ancient Ukrainian town of Chornobyl a tragedy occurred that would remain in the memory of all the people as a reminder that scientific and technological progress can also bear bitter fruit. Mankind has never known ecological catastrophes of such scale before.

Regardless of Ukraines difficult economic situation, this country continues to suffer enormous financial losses in connection with environmental rehabilitation and protection of the affected population, which in some years amount to 10% of state budget.

As a country that experienced for itself the tragedy of nuclear disaster, Ukraine understands the concern of the world community for the continued exploitation of the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant. With this in mind, Ukraine made a difficult political decision to close down the Plant by the year 2000 on condition of receiving adequate and timely financial and technical assistance.

The solution to this problem is being viewed by the Ukrainian side in the context of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Ukraine, the Governments of the G-7 Countries and the Commission of the European Community on the Closure of the Chornobyl NPP (MOU) signed in Ottawa on 20 December 1995.

Ukraine consistently fulfils its obligations under MOU. In 1996 Block No.1 of the Chornobyl was closed down and in March this year the Government of Ukraine approved the decision to shut down Block No.2 ahead of schedule.

Also, in March 1999 the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine approved the decision on the priority financing of all measures in connection with the closure of the Chornobyl NPP and the meeting of nuclear, radiation, fire and general safety requirements for closing of nuclear facilities, as well as of the Ukrainian share of contributions into the Shelter Implementation Plan (SIP) Fund.

Consistently fulfilling its obligations, Ukraine has every ground to expect the same from the other parties to MOU.

At the same time, the Government of Ukraine states that, regardless of certain positive developments in MOU implementation, the realisation of the projects aimed at enhancing the level of nuclear safety of Chornobyls Block No.3 and stabilising the Shelter Object, to this end no substantial investments have been involved in the solution of the complex of problems concerning the closure of the Chornobyl NPP. Of the US $1,8-billion for the development of Ukraines energy sector that was to be received from Western countries, only two projects are now being financed at the sum total of US $24,3-million.

The Ukrainian side is especially concerned by the state of crediting of the completion of additional blocks at the Khmelnitsky and Rivne NPPs, the main energy objects to replace the Chornobyl NPP, which as of today remains unrealised.

The realisation of the Shelter Implementation Plan is another important factor of the Chornobyl NPP closure. As of today, the Shelter Fund accounts for US $393,72-million. Considering that all the works envisaged by the Plan would require US $ 758-million, it is extremely important to provide the SIP with appropriate funding as soon as possible mainly by way of mobilising means from the budgets of the donor countries, in particular the G-7, as well as involving private sector contributions.

In this context Ukraine would welcome the convocation of a second donor countries conference which would contribute to the final settlement of the problem of SIP funding.

Other MOU provisions, particularly the need to address social problems connected with the Chornobyl NPP closure, require adequate financing as well.

Ukraine hopes that the combined efforts of the international community will promote the overcoming of the consequences of the Chornobyl tragedy, the worst ecological catastrophe in the history of mankind.


For more information, please contact:
Taras Malyshevskyi, Press Secretary of the Embassy,
310 Somerset Street West, Ottawa, ON K2P 0J9
Tel. (613) 230-2961, fax (613) 230-2400, E-mail: ukremb@cyberus.ca