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You are here: Home / Media / Archive / 2000 / bankwatch


30 october 2000

public groups oppose investment in ukrainian nuclear reactors

Today, public groups in 16 countries of Europe have called on their governments to oppose a project that will complete two partially-built Soviet- designed reactors in Ukraine. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is considering the project which was proposed by Western governments to replace the Chernobyl nuclear plant - the plant of the 1986 nuclear catastrophe. The closure of Chernobyl is planned for December 15 2000.

In a view of the impending Chernobyl closure, the Ukrainian government is pressuring the West for financial assistance, estimated at USD 1,72 billion, for new reactors at Rivne and Khmelnitsky nuclear power plants. This project, which is highly controversial, is known as K2R4. There are serious economic concerns as well as concerns about safety risks, and environmental issues.

Public groups are appealing to the national governments that are involved in the EBRD decision making process, to reject EBRD financial support of the project. "It does not make sense to waste public funds investing in two unsafe reactors when almost half of Ukrainian power plants are unable to get enough money to even operate. Ukraine has tremendous potential for energy efficiency and that is where investments should goö said Olexi Pasyuk of the CEE Bankwatch Network.

The EBRD and western leaders continue to promise the Ukrainian government that they will support K2R4. It has become obvious however, that alternative projects need to be explored. The EBRD itself has been exploring K2R4 alternatives. Chancellor Shroeder of Germany, travelled to Kiev this summer to discuss alternative projects. However, his efforts were undermined by U.S.A and French presidents Clinton and Chirac who in statements continued to support K2R4.

The European Parliament together with the parliaments of Germany, The Netherlands and Italy have called the on European Commission and national governments to withdraw from K2R4.

Ironically, the European Commission have invested millions of Euros in the development of democracy in the region but continue to support the K2R4 project which the majority of Ukrainian population are against.

"National governments must insure that the EBRD makes the right decision and does not invest public funds in building more Chernobyls next to the borders of an enlarged Europe" commented Olexi Pasyuk.

notes to the editor:

The most important problems associated with K2R4 are:

* Bankability - Ukraine will hardly be able to pay back the loan given the falling demand for energy, low cash collection for energy consumed and relatively low electricity prices.

* Economic - The independent Panel of experts set up in 1997 by the EBRD concluded " are not economic. Completing these reactors would not represent the most productive use of 1 billion USD at this time."

* Safety - K2R4 will not meet safety levels expected of a new nuclear reactor in Europe. Similar reactors were never completed at Stendal in Eastern Germany following unification for these reasons. The safety upgrades planned for K2R4 are lower than that in Temelin (Czech republic). This is a matter of serious concern for Europe.

* Public opinion - only 14% of the Ukrainian population supports the K2R4 projects according to public opinion poll done by SOCIS ^Ö Gallup International in April 2000.

Groups involved: Friends of the Earth (France); Friends of the Earth Europe (Belgium); Both Ends, WISE Amsterdam, Friends of the Earth International (The Netherlands), Reform the World Bank campaign, WWF, Greenpeace (Italy); Centre for Transport and Energy, Hnuti Duha, CEE Bankwatch Network (Czech Republic); Friends of the Earth, Swedish Youth Association for Nature Conservation and Field Studies (Sweden); Norges Naturvernforbund (Norway); VAK (Latvia); Friends of the Earth (Estonia); Atgaja (Lithuania); Energy Club, ETK (Hungary); CEPA, Greenpeace (Slovakia); National Ecological Centre of Ukraine, Bahmat, EcoClub Rivne (Ukraine); Green Alternative (Georgia); NIRS (USA), Greenpeace Nordic, OVE Europe (Denmark)



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