Kiev, Ukraine, 24 April 1998 (Greenpeace).
Today, on the eve of the Chernobyl remembrance day the Ukrainian Nuclear industry is keeping its unsolved problems. The consequences of the Chernobyl disaster are growing worse from one day to another. About 50.000 square kilometers are contaminated by radiation, more than 8 %(four million people) of Ukrainian population are affected. 350.000 took part in the liquidation of the catastrophe constituencies. 160.000 people were evacuated from their homes. Ukraine still spends about 750 mln. US $ of an annual budget on Chernobyl-related cleanups and health problems. 3.2 million people live on the contaminated territories, health problems rate among the disaster-fighters increased 2.5 times, death rate - 2.4 times. Chernobyl-caused handicapped people number increases for 10,000 persons every year. In the meantime the Ukrainian authorities refuse to provide the governmental aid to more and more people suffered from the disaster.
According to the 1995 Ukrainian official data 120.000 people have died as a result of the accident. Since 1996, the Ukrainian Government has changed the methods of the Chernobyl statistics. . According to the latest information provided by the Ukrainian official sources only 3576 deaths have been caused by the Chernobyl accident. The change in calculations happened due to the political and financial reasons in order to represent the Nuclear industry as a safe one in the endeavors to get loans for the new nuclear reactors, especially now on the eve of the European Bank for the Reconstruction and Development Annual meeting scheduled in Kiev for the 8-12th of May. The Bank may take the decision about the loans for reactors completion.
Greenpeace Ukraine is doing its best to tell the public the truth about the Chernobyl tragedy which is still going on, about the nuclear power industry in Ukraine and to reveal the real problems. Nuclear reactors don't work all by themselves, their construction is connected to the whole range of problems - uranium mining, radioactive materials transportation, processing and radioactive waste dumping.
Memorandum of understanding between Ukraine and the Big Seven includes the condition for the new reactors completion at Khmelnitsk and Rivno NPPs on the least cost basis only, the units don't meet the requirement so far. Ukrainian governmental officials go on pressing for reactors completion at any cost ignoring the independent experts conclusions, the economic reasons and just the common sense. The authorities simply forget that " the any cost" will be paid by the Ukrainian people who have already been bearing the burden of Chernobyl catastrophe outcomes.
The sarcophagus poor condition and the lack of funds for its repair are the most colorful evidences for the evils of the nuclear path for the Ukrainian energy sector development. To keep it at the sufficient safety level it needs financial and technical support of the entire world community. Greenpeace Ukraine believes that Ukraine indeed needs world public aid to turn the Sarcophagus into a safe installation. However Greenpeace also insist that Chernobyl NPP which is meant to be shut down by the year 2000 should not be a pressure tool towards the West.
West aid to Ukraine should be allocated for energy saving technologies and renewable energy implementation not for the new nuclear facilities. The alternatives can replace the Chernobyl units in terms of power; they also can start qualitatively new stage in the Ukrainian energy sector development. With approximately 50 percent of available power-generating facilities being out of business in the country building the new nuclear units is unreasonable from the economic point of view and of extreme danger from the ecological one. The only possible option is the new power policy that would encourage saving and rational use of power.
Greenpeace on the Internet: http://www.greenpeace.org
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