Kiev – Ukraine’s expansion of the lifetime of its old nuclear reactors is in breach of the UN Espoo Convention, ruled the body monitoring the implementation of this international agreement, because Kiev went ahead with the prolongation of the use of its old reactors without assessing the impact this may have on neighbouring countries.
In a letter to the Ukrainian Ministry of Environmental Protection, the Implementation Committee under the Espoo Convention wrote that Ukraine was in breach of the UN Convention that the country ratified in 1999.
In its national Energy Strategy, Ukraine envisages prolonging the lifetime of 12 old nuclear reactors, whose licence for operation would otherwise expire by 2020. Kiev has already renewed licences for two units (Rivne 1 and Rivne 2) and is close to prolonging the functioning of a third reactor, the South Ukrainian Unit 1.
CEE Bankwatch Network, together with Greenpeace CEE and Friends of the Earth Europe (FoEE), is now calling on the EBRD, whose 300 million euros loan to the Ukrainian nuclear operator is enabling the Ukrainian lifetime expansions, to halt any disbursements of funds until Ukraine meets its obligations under the Espoo Convention.
Iryna Holovko, Bankwatch national campaigner for Ukraine, comments:
“The EBRD has been systematically turning a blind eye to the fact that their loan to the Ukrainian nuclear sector endorses Ukraine’s nuclear lifetime extension agenda. The bank went ahead with their loan to upgrade old Ukrainian reactors which are meanwhile being prepared for another 15 to 20 years of operation without a comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment. This is an irresponsible approach on the part of a public bank, to put it mildly.
“Now an UN competent body is clearly saying that the lack of an EIA and of a consultation with neighbouring impacted countries puts Ukraine in breach of international legislation it has ratified. If the EBRD really wants nuclear safety in Ukraine as it claims, it must take this opportunity to halt the disbursement of its loan and condition the payments to obligatory compliance with Espoo requirements, that is, the preparation of an EIA for all units under preparation for extension and consultation with neighbouring states.”
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