European Parliament urges halt to Ukrainian nuclear financial support

A nuclear power plant in Kiev, Ukraine. | Sergey Kamshylin / Shutterstock.com
Twenty-five members of the European Parliament issued a letter on Wednesday to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and Euratom to halt financing support for aging nuclear reactors in Ukraine.

They claimed that financing should be suspended until the reactor's continued operation is evaluated and its potential environmental impact is studied and reported.

Currently, three reactors in Ukraine are operating past their designed lifespan, and according to parliament members, nine others will fall under this category by 2020. They also stated that there could be drastic consequences for people living near the reactors and the surrounding environment.

“Spending millions of EU tax payer’s money on keeping open high risk and out-of-date nuclear power stations in Ukraine is utter madness,” Dario Tamburrano, of Italy, said. “Ukraine’s nuclear authority (SNRIU) has a record of ignoring safety risks and cannot be trusted. In 2013, the SNRIU extended the lifetime of a reactor in the South Ukraine Power Plant until 2023, despite independent studies showing that safety limits have been breached by up to 10 times the acceptable levels. With war still raging in Ukraine, the EU approach to extending the lifetime of nuclear power plants in the country is like having a sword of Damocles hanging over the heads of all European citizens.”

EBRD and Euratom funding toward enabling lifetime extensions has totaled approximately $663 million. As a state party to the Espoo Convention, Ukraine is obligated to carry out transboundary environmental impact assessments on these kinds of projects.