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[cdn-nucl-l] Ukraine: Chernobyl plant dismisses criticism over performance
Posted on Hoovers Online on March 22, 2003 and at:
Ukraine: Chernobyl plant dismisses criticism over performance
March 22, 2003 3:37pm
The management of the decommissioned Chernobyl nuclear power plant has
insisted it has been efficient in meeting the plant's production targets,
the plant's press release has said in the wake of recent criticism from the
government. Current programmes are being implemented despite insufficient
financing, the press release said. The following is the text of a report by
Ukrainian news agency UNIAN:
Kiev, 22 March: The Chernobyl nuclear power plant has issued a statement
denying reports by a number of media outlets about the plant management's
alleged failure to meet production targets in 2002.
Despite insufficient and irregular financing, the state company Chernobyl
nuclear power plant achieved major objectives and laid a foundation for
further effective development of the company in 2003, the statement reads.
In 2002, the plant fulfilled its major functions in accordance with
programmes on the decommissioning of Chernobyl and ensuring the safety of
the Shelter facility [sarcophagus over a ruined generating set] which are
financed from the Ukrainian state budget. Unlike in 2001, the funds
allocated by the state budget were used in full [in 2002]. The company
obtained all necessary legal documents for operation and introduced a new
system of management. A reorganization was carried out.
A draft blueprint for the decommissioning and an integrated programme for
nuclear waste disposal were developed. The development of a nationwide
programme and a draft programme for Chernobyl's decommissioning began.
The transfer of residential housing and social infrastructure which belonged
to the plant to municipal authorities was completed last year.
A total of 52 systems were permanently stopped at the plant's generating
sets last year, as many as in the previous three years. Last year, 29.9m
dollars' and 23.1m euros' worth of work was carried out under international
projects at Chernobyl, which accounts for 23 per cent of all international
technical aid provided in the last five years. All the work was paid for.
An infrastructure needed to decommission the plant is being built under
international projects. Last year, construction work at a new storage
facility for spent nuclear fuel and a liquid nuclear waste processing plant
were completed. Equipment is being installed. The project for a facility for
the disposal of solid radioactive waste, whose construction will begin this
year, was developed and sent for thorough examination by the state.
Ukraine's planned contribution to the international Shelter Implementation
Plan aimed at ensuring the safety of the Shelter facility was another
positive development of last year. The sum of the contribution was over 100
per cent more than in 2001. For the fist time, the funds were used in full.
Last year, the number of the plant's staff was reduced to 4,174 and brought
into line with the requirements of the comprehensive programme for
decommissioning Chernobyl and approved decommissioning programmes. The
actual staff is 887 less than the number approved by the Fuel and Energy
Ministry. At the current stage, we managed to avoid layoffs and preserve the
social infrastructure of Slavutych [Chernobyl's satellite town].
However, the statement said that irregular and insufficient financing
accounted for the failure to fully implement the programme for 2002 and to
meet targets under contracts signed in 2002 on the purchase of goods and
services. The actual financing of the state budget-funded programmes stood
at about 70 per cent last year. The absence of financing made it necessary
to reschedule a considerable amount of work for this year. Eleven per cent
of the plant's budget financing this year should go to pay for jobs done in
Irregular and insufficient financing caused tensions among the plant staff
because of irregularly paid wages and wage arrears. This led to collective
industrial action. In addition, the plant was repeatedly warned that
electricity and gas supplies might be cut off, railways might refuse to
transport the plant's employees and that they might be denied a special
diet. A significant lack of financing in 2002 did not allow the plant to
tackle a range of technical issues.
Bearing this in mind while visiting the plant on 16 December 2002, Ukrainian
Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych instructed the Finance Ministry, the State
Treasury, the Fuel and Energy Ministry and the Emergencies Ministry to
ensure full and priority financing of the plant in 2003. This instruction is
being implemented. In January-March this year, work under the programme to
maintain the safe condition of the generating sets and the Shelter facility
and to decommission Chernobyl were financed in full, the statement reads.
[The Ukrainian government has threatened to consider the possibility of
dismissing Yuriy Neretyn as Chernobyl director, see Interfax-Ukraine news
agency, Kiev, in Russian 1117 gmt 18 Mar 03.]
Source: UNIAN news agency, Kiev, in Ukrainian 1214 gmt 22 Mar 03
/C BBC Monitoring
Publication: BBC Monitoring International Reports
Distributed by Financial Times Information Limited - Asia Africa
Copyright C 2003 BBC Monitoring International Reports. All Rights Reserved.