Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 206

Ukrainian prime minister Pavlo Lazarenko has dismissed the director-general of the Zaporizha nuclear power plant (NPP), and had called to account the management of the Rivne NPP. He also announced his intention to dismiss the director-general of the South Ukraine NPP or — depending on the investigation in progress there — the managers of South Ukraine NPP’s suppliers. Six power blocs at those three NPPs had to be disconnected from the national power grid recently because of technical incidents. The glitches seriously reduced Ukraine’s electricity output and caused a chain reaction of power failures in the system. None of those incidents posed radiation risks. The Chernobyl plant for its part operates at half-capacity, and one of its four power blocs is scheduled to be permanently disconnected from the national power grid within a month in order to be decommissioned. (Interfax-Ukraine, November 1 and 2)

The energy deficit is one of the factors behind the continuing fall in the country’s industrial production and GDP, as was noted with concern by President Leonid Kuchma at a meeting with his economic advisers and employers’ association leaders over the weekend. The nuclear sector still accounts for the lion’s share of Ukraine’s power output, and can not readily be replaced by coal-fired plants because of the crisis in the coal mining sector. The situation underscores the urgency of promised G-7 assistance to Ukraine’s nuclear sector. That assistance is not materializing even as Ukraine adheres to its own pledge of closing down Chernobyl.

Belarusan Opponents of Lukashenko Show Strength In Minsk.