Ukraine is obliged to spend 62 million dollars (65.2 million euros) to shut down the Chernobyl nuclear power station, a plant official at the site of the world's worst civilian nuclear accident said Thursday.
The funds needed for the maintenance and decommissioning of the station's three reactors will total 28.8 million dollars, while a further 19.5 million dollars will be needed to convert the plant for waste processing, the official, Oleg Goloskokov, said.
However another official at the crippled plant admitted there was "little chance" that the cash-strapped former Soviet republic could meet the entire cost of the shutdown, scheduled for December 2000.
Of Chernobyl's four reactors, only one, reactor number three, is still functioning, and in June Ukraine pledged to shut it down by December 15 in return for US assurances it will receive international compensation.
Reactor number four exploded on April 26, 1986, and contaminated three quarters of Europe and resulting in the deaths of an estimated 15,000 to 30,000 people.
It is now isolated inside a concrete sarcophagus which appears to be cracking and leaking radiation.
Reactor number two was destroyed in a fire in 1991, while number one was shut down in 1996.
On Wednesday, international governments met in Berlin and pledged an extra 320 million dollars in aid to make the nuclear power plant safe.
But officials said more money was still needed on top of the 715 million dollars now promised to finance urgent repairs on the Ukrainian power station.
The pledges also fell short of the estimated total 768 million dollars needed to secure the 250,000-ton concrete seal, which was hastily poured over the power station's Block 4 reactor after the catastrophic 1986 explosion - Kiev (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)