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EBRD Ignores Safety Concerns With Chernobyl

EBRD Ignores Safety Concerns With Approval Of Chernobyl Replacement Reactors In The Ukraine: Greenpeace

LONDON, Dec 7, 2000 – Greenpeace today condemned as irresponsible today's decision by the the executive directors of the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to finance the two Chernobyl replacement reactors in the Ukraine.

The EBRD's 22 executive directors, at a meeting at the bank's headquarters in London, today approved the US$ 215 million loan with 35 financial and economic conditions for the completion of the half-built reactors at Khmelnitsky and Rovno, known collectively as K2R4. It will be part of a $1.48 billion loan package for the project.

A total of 9 EBRD member countries are believed to have voted against the K2R4 proposal including the Netherlands, Austria and Hungary while 11 countries abstained including Germany. The rest of the 59 member countries are believed to have voted in favour of the project. (The EBRD operates on a weighted voting system meaning that one executive director can represent more than one country).

"The EBRD decision to complete the K2R4 reactors is a slap into the faces of thousands of victims of the Chernobyl catastrophe, " said Greenpeace spokesperson Tobias Muenchmeyer. "It is an absurd thing to replace Chernobyl with two new nuclear reactors, described as 'hazardous' in independent safety assessments".

"This is an irresponsible decision which will put Europe more at risk from another Chernobyl scale nuclear disaster. It has totally removed any cause for celebration at the official closure of Chernobyl next week," said Muenchmeyer.

A study, commissioned by the Austrian government, described the half-completed reactors as “particularly hazardous” and said they would not reach Western safety standards. It found that the reactor design assumptions for earthquakes at the Khmelnitsky and Rovno sites had been underestimated by a factor of four.

"This a victory for the French nuclear lobby represented in the EBRD. The decision ignores the serious safety concerns about the K2R4 reactors as well as scientific proof, that this project is uneconomic," said Muenchmeyer.



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