Kohler visits Ukraine

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

On December 11, EBRD President Horst Kohler met with President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma. During their encounter the Ukrainian president reaffirmed his desire to close the Chernobyl plant as soon as possible.

Later that day Kohler had a meeting with the representatives of several Ukrainian environmental NGOs to discuss the R4/K2 project. Apparently Kohler was surprised by some of the facts: namely, that there was no technical assessment of the project, that the way the environmental assessment was held violates Ukrainian and international legislation, and that geological conditions are extremely dangerous. And although Ukraine expects the R4/K2 reactors to replace Chernobyl by the year 2000, there is still no legislative base for that. Moreover, the law "Particularities about the operation of Chernobyl" affirms that there should be a five-year delay between the governmental decision to close the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and its actual closure. Therefore, Chernobyl cannot be closed in the year 2000.

Kohler explained that he wants to take account of both the wishes of the Ukrainian government and the G7 regarding the implementation of the project, and the wider public opposition. In these circumstances he feels trapped because for him the principal object is to close Chernobyl, and he would exert any effort to see that it be done, even if that means that the EBRD will have to finance two new reactors to replace Chernobyl.

Source: Email Rainbow Keepers, 15 December, and EBRD press release, 14 December 1998