Kiev City Council forms working group to study Chernobyl facility

The Kiev City Council announced Tuesday that it has formed a working group to study the safety of a construction project to build a spent fuel storage facility in the Chernobyl exclusion zone.

The spent-fuel facility construction is supported by an agreement between Holtec International of the U.S. and Energoatom of Ukraine. The completion of the facility is expected in 2017, and it would process fuel from the South-Ukraine, Rivne and Khemelnytska nuclear facilities. 

"For the construction of such a facility it is important to have specific environmental findings, to carry out relevant expertise, to attract independent experts, (members of parliament), and finally to involve the public and let people know about all the possible risks," working group member and City Council Deputy Rena Nazarova said. "The process was started a long time ago. However, as of today, any public discussion of this issue has not been held."

Concern was raised by members of the Ukrainian Greens Association, stating that the facility could pose potential risks to those who reside in Kiev and neighboring areas of the Chernobyl exclusion zone.

The working group will allow independent environmental and nuclear experts to determine the safety of both the construction and operation of the proposed facility and would provide an avenue for public discourse, the report states.