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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Greenpeace Tells West Not To Back Ukraine Reactor

KIEV -- Greenpeace activists picketed the Rivne nuclear power plant in western Ukraine on Wednesday, protesting plans to complete a new reactor there with Western funds.

"Instead of building more nuclear reactors, Western governments should be funding efficiency programs and providing Ukraine with its originally preferred option, cheaper and more efficient gas power stations," the environmental group said in a statement that raised concerns about the project's financial viability as well as its safety and environmental impact.

A spokesman for the plant said by telephone that 12 activists arrived at about 8:30 a.m. and tried to block the road into the station but moved to the side after officials talked to them.

The Group of Seven, composed of the world's leading industrialized countries, has promised Ukraine about $1.2 billion to fund the Rivne reactor as well as one at the Khmelnitsky plant, in a plan known as K2R4, in return for closing the infamous Chernobyl plant by 2000.

A Ukrainian official said Tuesday that K2R4 was the most effective way to replace generating capacity lost when Chernobyl eventually shuts down. But the project has long been dogged by disagreement over whether it is the best solution.

The promised money has yet to materialize and Ukraine says it won't close Chernobyl until it comes.

German government sources said Tuesday that Chancellor Gerhard Schreder would try to stall a decision on the credit, which had been expected at this weekend's G-7 summit.

The German parliament's environment committee voted Tuesday to back a motion put by members of Schreder's Social Democrats and the Greens that Germany should block the nuclear credits and offer Ukraine funds only for nonatomic stations.