Russia’s official government publication Rossiyskaya Gazeta reports that Ukraine can potentially become a “nuclear dump” because of increased international financing for the construction of a spent nuclear fuel storage facility in the country. This concern was apparently expressed by Russia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin in a letter to UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon.
“After a coup in February 2014, the process of building an infrastructure for massive radioactive waste disposal was launched with funds from foreign donors” writes Churkin.
The potential storage capacity, Churkin claims, is much larger than what Ukraine actually needs and it is highly possible that it will be used by foreign companies for storing nuclear waste, and this means that the country’s leadership has decided to turn the country into a nuclear dump.
Ukraine has one nuclear waste repository located in the Chornobyl zone which was built in 1986. A second facility is under construction since 1996, the year Ukraine signed an agreement with the EBRD on a loan financing the project.
Actual construction of the new facility began in 2001 but was suspended because of problems with the French contractor Famatome. In 2007 a new contract was signed with the US company Holtec International . Ukraine’s prime minister at that time was Viktor Yanukovych.
Churkin is completely off the mark regarding Ukraine nuclear waste needs. Ukraine’s nuclear agency Energoatom Ukraine is planning to build two additional reactors at the Khmelnycky nuclear power station, this will significantly increase Ukraine’s nuclear waste storage needs.