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Archive for October 14th, 2009

Yushchenko complaining about no progress on new Chernobyl shelter

Posted by the Editor on October 14, 2009

News / 14 October 2009 | 18:23

Yushchenko complaining about no progress on new Chernobyl shelter

(RIA Novosti) – Ukraine’s president criticized the government on Tuesday for a slow pace of the construction of a new shelter over the fourth nuclear reactor of the Chernobyl power plant, the site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster.

In September 2007, Ukraine signed a contract with France’s Novarka to build a protective cover over the reactor, now housed within the crumbling concrete “sarcophagus” in which it was sealed after the accident on April 26, 1986.

The construction has been repeatedly put off due to funding difficulties. The international project led by Novarka, estimated at around $1.2 billion, was to be completed in four or five years.

A deal was also signed in 2007 to build a storage facility for spent nuclear fuel on the site of the plant with U.S. firm Holtec International.

Speaking at a session of Ukraine’s National Security Council, President Viktor Yushchenko demanded the assessment of “risks pertaining to the delays” in the construction of the storage facility and the shelter.

Yushchenko said a total of over $900 million had been raised to carry out the projects, but the schedules had not been followed.

“Why is there an empty [construction] site today?” the president said.

The president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, which oversees the project and issued a 135 million euro ($174 million) grant in February, said earlier it was impossible to set any timeframe for the project, which he described as unique. But Thomas Mirow said he hoped significant progress would be achieved by 2012.

The current concrete and steel shell encasing the Chernobyl reactor is badly worn and has undergone numerous reinforcements by a consortium of companies led by Russia’s Atomstroyexport.

The new cover will have the form of an arch, 105 meters high and 150 meters long. It will be built onsite then slid over the reactor.

The fourth reactor exploded following a test that resulted in a critical nuclear meltdown. Vast areas, mainly in the then-Soviet republics of Ukraine, Belarus and Russia, were contaminated by the radioactive fallout.

International estimates as to the number of deaths caused by the accident vary widely. The World Health Organization puts the number at 9,000. Several million more people are thought to have been exposed to different degrees of radiation.



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Alcohol production down in Ukraine

Posted by the Editor on October 14, 2009

News / 14 October 2009 | 16:56

Alcohol production down in Ukraine

Total production of ethyl alcohol over nine months made up 18 million decaliters and it is less than during the same period of the previous year by 0.93 million decaliters, the Ukrspyrt Concern informed, National radio reported.

Supplies to the domestic market grew by 3.3 million decaliters. Reduction of the total production volume took place at the expense of exports. Consolidated profit of enterprises is UAH 19.9 million (1 USD – 8.0 UAH). Profits of Ukrainian distilleries made up UAH 45.7 million, and losses – UAH 25.8 million. Out of total number of enterprises 31 plants were unprofitable.


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NSDC should give adequate assessment of the situation in the army – President

Posted by the Editor on October 14, 2009

News / 14 October 2009 | 15:17

NSDC should give adequate assessment of the situation in the army – President

NSDC should find effective solutions to improve the situation in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, President Viktor Yushchenko emphasized today at the NSDC meeting opening discussion of the question on defensive potentialities of the state and urgent measures on ensuring the ability of the Armed Forces and other military formations to perform their constitutional duty. ”

“I am extremely concerned about the situation in the Armed Forces of Ukraine”, said Yushchenko, president’s press office reported. “… The army has become a hostage of empty populism”. He also said that through the approach of some politicians, especially the lack of adequate Government’s attention today the level of combat readiness of the army is being lost.

The President reminded that due to lack of state funding 25 military camps were disconnected from power, not a single ship or aircraft was repaired for the military this year, development of national operational-tactical missile system “has reached a deadlock”, etc.

“These and many other fact suggest that the Army has become hostage to political intrigues and speculations; that Ukrainian army does not get adequate attention of state authorities – mainly of the Government”, said Yushchenko.

He also reminded of a number of proposals on modernization of Ukrainian military the Prime Minister and her political power made at the elections of 2007, particularly to begin a full transition to professional army in 2008 and completion of the process by the end of 2009. However, said Victor Yushchenko, in the second half of 2008 “the reverse process has begun: last year the number of contractors has decreased by almost 10 percent”.

The President also reminded that despite the Government’s promise to cancel conscription for military service from January 1, 2008, in the spring of 2009 the number of conscripts increased by nearly 6 thousand people.

He drew special attention to the fact that this year the share of defense spending is only 1.1% of GDP (actually 0.8% considering the inflation) compared to 1.28% in 2007. “This is a critical limit, when experts speak about the process of irreversible destruction of combat readiness of any national army”, said President Yushchenko.

“I put up this issue at the NSDC agenda for only one reason: we must make proper assessment of this process. I will not allow us roll down in this problem further until we get incapable army. We should now agree on how we would give appropriate assistance to the Ukrainian army, raise the status of Ukrainian soldiers and officers, and support in the development and training of the army”, he said.


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Ukraine cannot guarantee Russian gas transit to Europe next year

Posted by the Editor on October 14, 2009

News / 14 October 2009 | 13:16

Ukraine cannot guarantee Russian gas transit to Europe next year

Under the existing contracts with Gazprom, Ukraine will be unable to guarantee gas supplies from Russia to Europe during the 2010-11 winter season, the Ukrainian president’s point man on energy security said Tuesday, according to RIA Novosti.

Bohdan Sokolovskiy said, however, that Ukraine was fully prepared to ensure Russian gas transits during the upcoming winter period.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko has repeatedly said that the gas deal agreed by the Russian and Ukrainian prime ministers in January should be renegotiated.

In particular, he is unhappy with the current transit fee, which he says means Ukraine’s state-controlled energy company Naftogaz receives at least $2.5 billion a year less than it should.

Sokolovskiy warned that unless the deal was reviewed, “2010 and 2011 will be unpredictable in terms of gas transit.”

Ukraine is currently negotiating with Gazprom on a reduction in supplies to 33 billion cubic meters a year.

Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller has said that under the contract, Ukraine must buy at least 52 billion cubic meters of gas per year, but Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko said on Thursday that “Ukraine has the right to order the volume that it needs.”

She said the contract provides for 20% fluctuations in the level of consumption, and that “aggressive statements” on mandatory purchase levels should be ignored.


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Ukraine will actively participate in fighting piracy

Posted by the Editor on October 14, 2009

News / 14 October 2009 | 11:14

Ukraine will actively participate in fighting piracy

Ukraine plans to actively participate in the UN programs for fighting the piracy, Ukraine’s Permanent Representative to the United National Yuriy Sergeyev told the MFA press club meeting, National radio reported.

He noted that Ukraine will participate in preparation of the UN Resolution concerning the problems of fighting the piracy that should be considered at the UN General Assembly on December 4.  According to him, earlier the Ukrainian leaders have already expressed their wish to participate in the Atlanta program to fight the piracy that includes a group of ships from the EU countries. The diplomat emphasized that Ukraine considers possibility to participate in the contact group to fight the piracy headed by Japan.


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