News / 4 July 2013

Stop unsafe and unsustainable energy policies in Ukraine!

Ukraine has recently renewed the license for two old nuclear reactors that were supposed to close in 2020. As this involves risks, Ukraine should have conducted research and at least have consulted neighbouring countries. The Ukrainian government didn’t do any of this, while intends to keep in business  a total of  up to twelve old reactors after 2020. Both ENDS has major objections to these plans and appeals to the European Commission to take action.

Espoo Convention

In its national energy strategy Ukraine aims to extend the lifetime of twelve old nuclear reactors. For two of these twelve a new license is already issued, but without following the rules that apply for this. One of these rules is the so-called ‘Espoo Convention’ which was adopted  in 1991 by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) to oblige EU member states to discuss and negotiate  projects that might have negative trans-boundary environmental effects. It also obliges countries to conduct Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA’s).


Sustainable alternatives

Besides extending the lifetime, Ukraine also wants to expand the reactors. The East-Europe Bank (EBRD) reserved a loan of 300 million euro’s for this. ‘They’d better use the money for energy saving and investments in sustainable energy’, Both ENDS’ Huub Scheele thinks. ‘Ukraine wants to keep the reactors in business far beyond their expected life-span.’ Huub acknowledges that Ukraine is using a lot of energy.  ‘But’, he adds, ‘this doesn’t happen in an efficient way. There are alternatives to reduce the energy intensity.  Ukraine could for example isolate buildings and avoid wasting and losing energy while transporting it. Moreover, it would be better to invest in sustainable and safe energy from natural resources, like wind- and solar energy.’



The European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) also plans on lending 300 million euro’s to Ukraine to adjust the reactors to keep them working after 2020..For this, the European Commission has to give permission first. Both ENDS and many other organisations state that the European Commission should not give this permission because the investments don’t meet the European requirements. Besides, the EU wants to focus on sustainable energy supplies in the years to come If it supports Ukraine’s energy policy, the European Commission is giving a bad example and loses credibility. Therefore Both ENDS’ partner CEE Bankwatch Network has started actions towards the European Commission. In a letter, which was also signed by Both ENDS and more than 30 other organisations, CEE Bankwatch calls upon institutions in Europa  to put pressure on the European Commission. After all, it is the European Commission which can eventually make Ukraine follow the rules, and encourage the country to develop a sustainable energy policy.



The letter that calls upon institutions in Europa to put pressure on the European Commission.


More information on how Ukraine’s nuclear reactors are violating UN convention.

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