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Brussels, 27 July 2001

EU grants Ukraine euro 20 million for production of electricity following the closure of Chernobyl

The European Commission committed a further €20 million today to supply Ukrainian power plants with additional fuel allowing them to increase electricity production during the coming winter. With this grant, the funds provided by the European Union) towards meeting Ukraine's electricity demand since the closure of Chernobyl, amount to €45 million.

This latest instalment of the Fuel Gap(1) Programme, funded from the Tacis budget line, continues to fulfil the commitment undertaken by the EC to assist Ukraine to compensate for the deficit in electricity production resulting from Ukraine's decision to close the Chernobyl nuclear plant. The closure of the last reactor of the Chernobyl power plant has been a longstanding key objective of EU nuclear policy(2). The reactor was finally shut down in December 2000, as agreed between the Ukrainian Government and the international community in 1995. The Fuel Gap Programme is intended to ease the transition period between the closure of Chernobyl and the commissioning of two alternative power reactors in Khmelnitsky and Rivne, for which the EC has already taken a decision on a 585 million-dollar long-term Euratom loan.

During his visit to Ukraine last November, President Romano Prodi re-iterated the EU's commitment to assist in closing Chernobyl and pledged €65 million to help Ukraine meet its electricity demand between the closure of the nuclear plant (December 2000) and the commissioning of the first of the two new nuclear power units.

Under the first instalment of the Fuel Gap Programme (€25 million) a total of 374 million cubic metres of natural gas was delivered to two thermal power plants between February and April 2001. This gas enabled the plants, located in Zaporizhya and Donetsk regions, to generate the equivalent of 28 percent of Chernobyl's average yearly electricity production. The second instalment is for the supply for fossil fuel (gas, coal or mazut-fuel oil) to a limited number of thermal power plants (TPPs) before the onset of winter. The power generated by these plants will be channelled through Energomarket and then sold to a network of regional distributors. With a budget of €65 million for the period 2000 to 2002, the Fuel Gap Programme is the largest single supply grant from the EU to any of the thirteen Partner States of the Tacis Programme. It brings the total Commitment of EU assistance to Ukraine linked to the closure of Chernobyl to more than €1.2 billion.(3)

(1) The Fuel Gap is defined as the extra (annual) cost to Ukraine of producing electricity at thermal power plants using imported fossil fuel to replace the electricity previously produced by the Chernobyl reactor 3.

(2) IP/00/977 of 06 September 2000

(3) IP/00/1458 of 13 December 2000

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