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Chernobyl Reactor Replacement Opposition Urged

Greenpeace Calls On European Commission Not To Fund New Hazardous Nuclear Reactors To Replace Chernobyl

BRUSSELS, Dec 13, 2000 - Greenpeace today urged the European Commission to oppose EU-financing of the Ukrainian nuclear reactors Khmelnitsky-2 and Rovno-4 ("K2R4") to replace the last operable reactor at Chernobyl which is to be closed for good on Friday.

The European Commission is expected today to agree on a Euro 656.6 million Euratom loan to fund these reactors. A decision in favour of the Euratom loan would also ignore the fact, that only a minority of six EU countries (France, UK, Greece, Luxembourg, Portugal and Finland) supported a K2R4 loan at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) meeting in London last week. Nine EBRD member countries either voted against it or have abstained.

"There are clearly more EU countries against the financing of K2R4, than in favor of it. The European Commission must reflect this balance and reject any commitment for financing K2R4" said Greenpeace nuclear spokesperson Tobias Müenchmeyer.

Two weeks ago Greenpeace revealed a leaked study commissioned by the Austrian government, which described the K2R4 reactors as “particularly hazardous” warning that they would not meet Western safety standards. “It is nonsense to replace the Chernobyl reactor with two new dangerous reactors," said Muenchmeyer. "Given the questionable safety standards and serious flaws in the economic analysis, the European Commission should once and for all reject proposals to fund K2R4 and instead improve the efficiency of the power supply system.”

"Europe is still suffering from Chernobyl. That's one of the reasons why there are no plans to build new reactors in the EU and why there is not a single nuclear reactor under construction," said Muenchmeyer . No Euratom loans have been given to an EU member country since 1987.

"The European Commission would be extremely cynical to give loans to the Chernobyl country Ukraine for a technology, which is seen as dangerous and outdated in its own member countries," said Muenchmeyer.

Even if the European Commission does give the project the green light today, it remains far from certain that the work will ever be carried out as funding can’t actually be released until after the Ukrainian electricity supply system is privatised and fundamental improvements are made in the way the industry collects its debts. "There are more economic and safer alternatives to K2R4 available - the potential of energy-efficiency measures and renewables are immense," said Münchmeyer.



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