Two cities say no to new nuclear power plant



Construction of two nuclear reactors at the Khmelnytski Nuclear Power Plant is under discussion in Ukraine. Public discussion has taken place in 4 places. The residents of Khmelnytski and Ostroha came out categorically against the new reactors.

The framework agreement on construction of the third and fourth reactors at the Khmelnytski Nuclear Power Plant was signed around a year ago between Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers and the Russian Government. The TEO [technical and economical justification) for the project and environmental impact assessment have already been drawn up. These documents were presented for public discussion in Khmelnytski, Ostroha, Netishyna and Slavuty. The latter two places supported the construction, however not the first two.

According to Artur Denysenko from the National Ecological Centre of Ukraine, the material presented contains a lot of discrepancies and inaccuracies and certain proposals cannot withstand criticism.

The Public were fed half-truths

For example, Artur Denysenko says, the proposed reactor has not been tested in the world and its reliability has not been confirmed. “Furthermore, the nuclear energy company Energoatom is trying to establish this reactor on building constructions which have stood in the open air for quarter of a century. This cannot be called anything but taking risks on the issue of safety”.

The Khmelnytski Nuclear Power Plant management claim that there are positive assessments from the relevant institutions making it possible to do that.  The documentation states that the protective cover of the reactor will withstand up to 6 tonnes, however Mr Denysenko points out that this is 10 times less than the weight of a modern passenger plane. The consequences of such an accident have not been considered. Nor, he says, have they envisaged what is to be done with the spent fuel.

He is convinced that the project must not be high-priority for Ukraine since it carries a large number of economic, environmental and corruption-based risks. He says that the construction has not yet begun, and yet the price is rising all the time. At present the cost stands at 34 billion UAH which is to be borrowed from Russia.

The inhabitants of Netishyna and Slavuty supported the project on the basis of the social component and economic benefit for the towns. Public discussion is to continue until the end of the month with 10 other inhabited areas still to express their views. 

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