The New Chernobyl Scandal

The West, having done nothing to aid the closure of Chernobyl reactors for a decade, now feels it must act. The EBRD, backed by the G-7 and EURATOM, is proposing to complete 2 Soviet-designed Ukrainian reactors (for US$ 890 million) and "upgrade" the safety of the 2 remaining Chernobyl reactors for US$ 360 million. This aid package, totalling US$ 3.4 billion, is being offered for the promise to target the closure of Chernobyl by the year 2000. This "target" is basically no commitment at all.

Similar EBRD "safety upgrade aid for early phaseout" packages were given to Lithuania (Ignalina) and Bulgaria (Kozloduy). In both cases, after the aid money was spent, the countries refused to keep their promise of closing the reactors, claiming that the reactors were now safe and the energy was needed.

The real crime is that the EBRD is trying to sell these two reactors (Rovno 4 and Khmel'nitskiy 2) as the least-cost solution to the Ukraine's energy problems. The US Dept. of Energy has proven that wind power is cheaper for the Ukraine and that energy efficiency would be cheaper, safer, and faster than the nuclear option.

Bill Chandler is the Senior Staff the Scientist at the US DOE Batelle Labs. After reviewing the EBRD "least cost" analysis for finishing reactors in the Ukraine, he wrote, "I told my graduate students that if they submitted such an analysis for course credit, they would receive a failing grade... I have no reservation in saying the EBRD energy demand forecast is invalid and should not be the basis for Ukranian energy policy or international assistance projects."

We have stopped the EBRD from funding reactors in Slovakia (see Mochovce). We can do it again! Write your EBRD executive director or your Ministry of Finance, or do an action at the EBRD offices in your capital city - do anything you like, but get active. Contact the listed organization in your region for details (see page 69).