The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is expected to decide before mid-December on the loan for completion of Khmelnitsky-2 and Rivne-4 (K2R4). The Ukrainian government has threatened to reconsider the closure of the last operating reactor at Chernobyl, planned for 15 December, unless Ukraine's foreign partners give "adequate signals" about financing K2R4 and supplying fuel for replacement generation.
(538.5218) WISE Amsterdam - The Ukrainian government continues to use Chernobyl-3, the last remaining operating reactor at Chernobyl, as a bargaining tool. Despite earlier promises to close Chernobyl-3 on 15 December, Prime Minister Viktor Yushchenko said that discussions regarding the possibility of the continued operation of Chernobyl-3 are being held "on a working level".
One of the conditions under which the Ukrainian government agreed to close Chernobyl-3 is that money be made available to purchase fuel for conventional power stations to generate electricity to replace that lost by Chernobyl's closure. On 1 November, Olexandre Bilitchenko of Energoatom stated that unless Ukraine receives US$150 million to pay for gas and oil to boost electricity production over the winter, Chernobyl-3 would not be closed until April 2001. On 3 November, the EBRD announced that it is ready to lend Ukraine US$100 million for this purpose, conditional on the restoration of the IMF's loan program.
However, a remark by the Chairman of the Ukrainian Parliament, Ivan Plyushch, following a meeting with IMF official John Odling-Smee, made clear the crucial link between K2R4 and Chernobyl. Plyushch pledged on 4 November to propose a bill that would keep Chernobyl-3 open beyond 15 December if the EBRD loan were not forthcoming.
The K2R4 Action Day on Monday 30 October saw protests all over Europe and in the US. At least 28 organizations from 16 countries were involved. In Sweden, for example, an action in front of the Parliament Building in Stockholm received significant press coverage. A letter was handed to Sven Hegelund, state secretary to the Finance Minister, who said that the EBRD President would visit Sweden to discuss the issue in the coming weeks. The following EBRD board meetings are 14 November and 6 December, so 6 December is a possible decision date for K2R4.
- Kyiv Post, 3 November 2000
- European Report, 4 November 2000
- Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 7 November 2000
- Friends of the Earth International press release, 30 October 2000