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Unions' Chernobyl Warning

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5 August, 2005ICEM News release No. 54/2000

The international community "is still very far from fulfilling its financial obligations" to cover "technical and safety issues" related to the decommissioning of Chernobyl nuclear power station.

That was the warning today from leaders of the world's energy and allied unions, currently meeting in Brussels.

Chernobyl, the site of the world's worst-ever nuclear accident in 1986, is to be closed by the end of this year, the Ukrainian government has confirmed. Funding for the closure and for replacement power sources is to come from the G7 industrial countries, the European Union and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

But, the Executive Committee of the 20-million-strong International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers' Unions (ICEM) said in Brussels today, the funding pledges made by the donors at a meeting this March are inadequate.

The ICEM leaders particularly insisted that "a Social Action Plan developed by international experts and the Ukrainian government, in cooperation with the ICEM-affiliated Ukrainian Atom Union, should be an integral part of any decommissioning scenario and its practical implementation. The international community, the governments of donor countries and the Ukrainian government must ensure the proper financing of the Social Plan."

The social plan is designed to tackle the severe employment impacts of the Chernobyl closure, both at the power station itself and in the town of Slavutich, where most of the Chernobyl workers live.