Paris, 14 September 2000 (RFE/RL) - Officials from Ukraine and the EU opened a two-day summit in Paris. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Boris Tarasyuk said yesterday that officials will press the EU for speedy payment of funds pledged by the West to build two nuclear reactors in return for closure of the Chornobyl nuclear plant. Only one of the four reactors at Chornobyl is still functioning. President Leonid Kuchma has agreed to a final shutdown in December in return for U.S. assurances of compensation by the West.
In 1995, the Group of Seven leading industrialized nations pledged to provide some $2.3 billion to pay for the complete closure of the Chornobyl plant. Of that, $1.5 billion was earmarked for construction of two replacement reactors at Rivne and Khmelnitsky. But the money has been held up due to reluctance among some European countries to fund what they consider to be Ukraine's unreliable nuclear industry.