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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Chernobyl Closure Hopes Get Boost

MUNICH, Germany -- German Finance Minister Theo Waigel said Monday that a Ukrainian official had told him Kiev may be prepared to shut down its controversial Chernobyl nuclear plant.

Waigel said Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Ihor Mityukov told him in Munich that President Leonid Kuchma would visit the plant on Tuesday and "take a clear line for closing Chernobyl."

He told reporters that Mityukov saw no future for the plant, site of the world's worst nuclear accident.

A fire and explosion in Chernobyl's fourth reactor in 1986 spewed radiation over most of Europe and Ukrainian officials say 8,000 people have since died as a result.

The plant's second reactor was closed after a fire in 1991. Two other reactors are still functioning.

Ukraine has resisted calls by Western countries to close the plant down, saying it must first find alternative sources of electricity.

Waigel said Ukraine needed assistance from international financial organisations like the World Bank to restructure its energy sector.