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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

EBRD Backs $215M Ukrainian Nuclear Loan

KIEV -- Ukraine edged closer last week to securing vital funding for its troubled nuclear power industry after the head of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development backed proposals for a $215 million loan.

"The president of the EBRD [Jean Lemierre] recommended to the board to confirm its decision to give a credit to complete two nuclear reactors as all four conditions for the loan had been met," the EBRD said in a statement.

The EBRD said that if the board confirmed Lemierre's recommendation, the credit agreement could be signed next month.

The EBRD last year approved the loan in principle to finance completion of two new reactors in western Ukraine being built to replace the ill-fated Chernobyl nuclear power plant, closed last December.

But the bank attached tough conditions to the loan, including a resumption of aid from the International Monetary Fund -- approved two months ago -- and improving safety at the ex-Soviet state's nuclear stations.

The project stirred controversy as environmentalists insisted the two plants were the wrong option for the country that suffered from the world's worst civil nuclear disaster in 1986 after a reactor exploded at Chernobyl.

But officials said that the completion of the two reactors was vital for the country's ailing energy sector, which lost about 4 percent of its generating capacity after the Chernobyl closure.

Power outages are common in the country of 49 million people, which does not have sufficient energy resources to fully meet demand and depends heavily on imports to meet its energy needs.