Ukrainianpresident Leonid Kuchma has written to Prime Minister Jean Chretienof Canada, current chairman of the G-7, asking for talks nextmonth on speeding up the promised financing of Ukraine’s closureof the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Summarizing the letter,Ukrainian environment minister Yuri Kostenko told Reuters August8 that the promised financing was not materializing, and that,in its absence, Ukraine’s leadership feels that it has a legaland moral right to alter its pledge to close the plant. It madethat pledge last April on the promise of full Western financingof the closure and of the construction of a substitute thermalpower plant. Kiev estimates the total costs at $4 billion. Ukraine’snuclear power authority has developed a plan to upgrade Chernobyland keep it operating under safe conditions for another 16 years.
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