Ukraine’s National Atomic Energy authority yesterday dismissed the director-general of the Chornobyl nuclear power plant, Serhyi Parashin, from his post. Energoatom President Nur Nigmatullin accused Parashin of insubordination, of exceeding his powers, and of appealing directly to President Leonid Kuchma and to the public in challenging Energoatom policies. Energoatom’s announcement seemed to indicate that the main differences concerned the resolution of nuclear safety issues, such as reconstruction of the leaking sarcophagus over the reactor which exploded on April 26, 1986.
The disaster’s twelfth commemoration prompted more public discussion of the unresolved safety and financial problems. Parashin commented yesterday that dismissing him was no substitute for resolving those problems. Nigmatullin appointed Vitaly Tolstonohov as director general of Chornobyl. Tolstonohov previously served as chief engineer at Chornobyl and as Energoatom’s executive director.
Parashin has lobbied for keeping Chornobyl’s one functioning reactor (out of four) for at least another decade, and even reactivating another reactor at the plant. This has displeased some international donor organizations and countries. Ukraine has pledged to close the plant completely by the year 2000, if the G-7 countries and international financial organizations keep their promise to provide more than $3 billion dollars in aid. Parashin’ dismissal came only days before a meeting of financial donors in Kyiv. (Ukrainian agencies, May 4; Eastern Economist Daily, May 5; AP, May 5)
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