Ukraine remains tough on Chernobyl

29 April 1999

Mikhail Umanets, Ukraine’s first deputy minister for energy, has criticised the latest EU call for the closure of Chernobyl. He was reacting to EU energy commissioner, Christos Papoutsis, who urged the Ukrainian authorities to reconsider the decision that led to the restart of Unit 3. Papoutsis called for the closure of Chernobyl to be speeded up, and expressed “deep concern” about the restart, saying it would increase the risk to plant workers, the public at large and the international community.

Umanets said this was an attempt to maintain pressure on Ukraine to shut the plant, despite the EU and the G7 nations failing to fulfil their side of the 1995 Memorandum of Understanding, which provided for closure by the year 2000.

Umanets said Ukraine had honoured its side of the agreement by stopping two of the three remaining reactors, but signs of a real effort by the EU and G7 to provide replacement generating capacity had only emerged recently.

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