Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 92

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) concluded its annual board meeting yesterday in Kyiv. The EBRD and Ukraine’s Energo-Atom signed two agreements on the allocation of grants totaling $130 million to repair the defective “sarcophagus,” the protective shelter built after the 1986 disaster at reactor No. 4 of the Chornobyl nuclear power plant.

The EBRD administers financially, but does not fund, the international project known as Shelter Implementation Plan (SPI). Under that plan, the two grants are to be used within a two-year period for: stabilizing the crumbling construction, treating the dust and water which have penetrated inside, improving the monitoring of radioactivity, examining and treating the remaining nuclear fuel inside, and preparing further projects under SPI.

This represents only an early stage in the SPI, which is expected to be extended for some years at a cost of at least $750 million. In addition, Ukraine needs $1.2 billion to complete two unfinished power blocs at the Rivne and Khmelnitskaya nuclear power plants.

President Leonid Kuchma, Security and Defense Council Chief Volodymyr Horbulin, and Ecology and Nuclear Safety Minister Yuri Kostenko pointed out during the conference that the current level of Western aid is inadequate for dealing with the risk of nuclear contamination from reactor 4. They also expressed concern over the G-7 and European Union’s procrastination on the aid that would have enabled Ukraine to close down Chornobyl completely by the year 2000. The officials made clear that Ukraine must restart reactor No. 3 soon in order to avoid power shortfalls. (Eastern Economist Daily, UNIAN, May 11 and 12)