EBRD to support K2/R4 completion
EBRD shifts mission: European Bank for Radiation Development founded today
A joint press release of CEE Bankwatch Network and Friends of the Earth International
Prague, Kiev, Amsterdam, December 7th 2000. Today, the Board of Directors of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development decided to support the completion of two nuclear reactors in Ukraine, the so called Khmelnitsky 2 and Rivne 4 (K2/R4) project. The Bank will make available a loan of 215 million US $, albeit with a whole string of conditions attached. Apparently the decision was a close call, with only 63,7 % of shareholding countries supporting the project.
CEE Bankwatch Network and Friends of the Earth International are deeply disappointed that the EBRD gave in to the blackmailing efforts of Ukraine, which threatened to delay the closure of the last remaining reactor at Chernobyl. This was the reason for some of the larger members voting in favour of the project despite the reservations they have made in the past about K2/R4.
Khmelnitsky 2 and Rivne 4 (K2/R4) are two partially built, Russian designed 1000 MW VVER nuclear units in Ukraine, which the government has not been able to complete on its own. Ukraine has therefore been seeking the necessary 1,48 billion USD from other sources to complete the plants. The EBRD is to provide 215 million US$, the remaining funds will come from EU and bilateral sources.
"We cannot trust to the EBRD anymore. Under the French President Lemierre the bank has become a representative of the nuclear lobby. Instead of playing a lead role in fostering sustainable development in the CEE region, as is so proudly stated in the Banks mission statement, it has now become involved in providing funding for the moribund nuclear industry. Today this institution became a bank for radiation development", said Yury Urbansky from National Ecological Centre of Ukraine. "Ukrainians have already suffered from the accident in Chernobyl. Now the EBRD expects our people to be a source of funding for this inherently unsafe and uneconomic project."
CEE Bankwatch Network and Friends of the Earth share the view of countries who voted against the project (e.g. Netherlands), that: the financial basis of the proposed loan is absolutely insufficient; alternative financing arrangements have not been investigated; the Environmental Impact Assessment of the project shows gaps; and (non nuclear) alternatives for the project have not been seriously investigated.
"Today’s decision is a sad one, but it is not the end of this story. Our organisations are going to continue to oppose the project." said Johan Frijns from Friends of the Earth International. " Let it be clear that countries and directors who supported this project today will be held liable for this decision and any disaster that might derive from it. We are going to ensure that everyone knows their names".
The EBRD loan is based on conditions that additional funding is raised from other sources e.g. from the EU and a number of Export Credit Agencies. To date this additional funding has not been secured. Furthermore other conditions have to be met before the loan is effective. This includes substantial changes to the energy sector in Ukraine which will have large social impacts. "We are going to support the Ukrainian public who oppose K2/R4, we will fight it until this insane project is finally stopped" said Petr Hlobil from CEE Bankwatch Network.
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