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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release May 12, 1995


The Chornobyl nuclear power plant comprises four RBMK-1000 reactors. The Chornobyl-4 reactor suffered the 1986 accident. Chornobyl-1 and Chornobyl-3 are currently operating; Chornobyl-2 suffered a fire in 1992 and is currently not operating.

The RBMK design is considered outmoded, and the Chornobyl plant lacks many safety features considered critical in the West, such as a containment structure. The G-7 has been concerned about these older reactors since 1992 when the Munich G-7 summit communique announced a G-7 reactor safety assistance policy.

The 1994 Naples G-7 summit announced an action plan for Ukraine's energy sector that envisioned early closure of the Chornobyl units and contained an initial amount of up to $200 million in grants to assist Ukraine in this effort. The U.S. portion was $38 million. The G-7's decision followed closely on the European Union's decision to make 100 million ECU (approximately $120 million) in grant funds and another 400 million ECU (approximately $480 million) in loans for the same purpose.

Since Naples, G-7 and Ukrainian representatives have worked on implementing the action plan. A joint G-7/EU mission met President Kuchma on April 13; he committed to close Chornobyl by the year 2000. Simultaneously, he requested additional aid from the West. In May, a joint experts team will examine Ukraine's needs, including the extent of need for a gas-fired generating station to replace Chornobyl.

In addition to the multilateral process, the United States and Ukraine signed a statement of intent on May 10 regarding U.S. assistance for fire and operational safety improvements at the Chornobyl-1 and -3 reactors and in establishing a Ukrainian-managed international center at Slavutych on nuclear safety and environmental research. The center will also promote international cooperation on projects stemming from the consequences of the Chornobyl accident. The U.S. and Ukraine also signed on May 10 a protocol to launch a bilateral research program on thyroid cancer and other thyroid diseases resulting from the Chornobyl accident.