The meeting’s agenda includes three issues: improving state policy of overcoming the consequences of the Chernobyl accident, increasing nuclear power plants safety, and granting the right of entry to Ukrainian territory to other states' armed forces in 2011 to participate in multinational military exercises.
Observing the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster is an extremely sensitive issue for Ukraine, President Yanukovych said, speaking at the meeting. Therefore, the International Chernobyl Conference, dedicated to this tragedy, is very important for us.
"This major nuclear accident in the history of nuclear power - with its fatalities and radioactive contamination of large areas in many countries with millions of people living there - requires special attention. Therefore, at this conference we should bring up again the question of how are we to solve the problems left after the Chernobyl accident in the future before the global community and the society," Viktor Yanukovych said.
In the light of recent events in Japan, we all need to reconsider the situation with transformation of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant into an ecologically safe system, and evaluate the effectiveness of nuclear and radiation safety at all Ukrainian nuclear power plants, Viktor Yanukovych stressed.
"Since 1986, significant changes have happened around Chernobyl. Dozens of social-economic projects are realized in the areas affected by the Chernobyl accident, with investment flowing there, including that foreign. But Ukraine bears the main burden," the President said, “Western experts estimate that budgetary funds spent in this connection by Ukraine since independence exceed $12 billion total.”
At the same time, the President said, it is sad that a quarter of a century later, the liquidators and other victims of the Chernobyl disaster have to fight in courts for the benefit payments and compensations, they are entitled to in accordance with the law.
"Yet, vast majority of those present here understand well that the 74 billion UAH per year, needed to fully meet the benefits and compensations under the Law of Ukraine "On the Status and Social Protection of Citizens Affected by the Chernobyl Disaster", is a backbreaking burden for the budget of our state. Therefore, fundamental changes in the government policy of overcoming the consequences of the Chernobyl accident are extremely overdue,” he said.
Given the post-crisis condition of Ukraine’s economy, the situation is extremely difficult, Viktor Yanukovych added.
"Unfortunately, the Draft National Target Program of Overcoming the Consequences of the Chernobyl Disaster for 2012-2016, developed under the existing legislation, is beneath any criticism too," Viktor Yanukovych said.
The President noted that poor implementation of previous decisions of the National Security and Defense Council on this issue shows improper attitude of the executive branch to solving that pressing national problem.
The experience of Chernobyl, just as the recent events at the Fukushima I NPP in Japan and the Japanese government’s efforts to manage their consequences should be fully taken into account when elaborating steps to ensure safety of Ukrainian NPPs, he said.
"During last 25 years, lots of work has been done at Ukrainian nuclear power plants to modernize the existing units, and increase their safety. In 2008-2009, in the framework of EU-Ukraine-IAEA joint project, for the first time in the world our state has conducted a unique comprehensive safety assessment of all the nuclear reactors in Ukraine. IAEA and EU experts have declared full compliance of all the Ukrainian nuclear power plants units with modern demands of the IAEA nuclear safety," Viktor Yanukovych said.
Maintaining and constantly improving nuclear safety, observing nuclear safety rules, regulations and standards, implementing the best international practices and operation experience must be top priorities.
Even more so, after the Fukushima I NPP accident, which may become the second after the Chernobyl disaster by the scope and consequences, as well as problems at other Japanese NPPs, such as those at the Onagawa NPP, the international community demands evidence of nuclear operators’ ability to provide safety of their use, Viktor Yanukovych said.
The President stressed that he demands public authorities’ responsible attitude to implementation of the decisions to be approved at today’s National Security and Defense Council meeting.
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