Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 142

Ukraine may reconsider its decision to close down the Chernobyl nuclear power plant if adequate assistance from G-7 countries is not forthcoming, Prime Minister Evhen Marchuk and President Leonid Kuchma have told the press in separate statements. Kuchma said that Ukraine had made the political decision to close down the plant and that it is now up to the international community to help Ukraine do so; otherwise, the closure may be postponed. Marchuk termed G-7 assistance proposals "absolutely unsuitable," and warned that Ukraine may give up the closure altogether and upgrade instead at least two of Chernobyl’s four reactors. (10)

Kuchma announced last April the decision to decommission Chernobyl by the year 2000, in response to pressures from Western countries which consider the plant unsafe. Ukraine’s decision was contingent on financial assistance to defray the decommissioning costs and to offset the output loss by building or upgrading other energy-generating capacities. Ukraine estimates the aggregate costs at $3 to 4 billion. But G-7 representatives have offered $1.8 billion in loans and $450 billion in grants at negotiations in Kiev which adjourned November 3. Ukraine’s nuclear energy industry considers Chernobyl safe at present.

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