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Soviets Cancel New Reactors for Chernobyl

April 20, 1989|From United Press International

MOSCOW — The Soviet Union has canceled plans to construct two reactors at the stricken Chernobyl nuclear power station and has halted expansion of all other similar plants, Tass press agency said today.

The decision was announced six days before the third anniversary of the accident at Chernobyl, 80 miles north of Kiev, that killed 31 people in the world's worst civilian nuclear disaster.

Plans to construct two additional reactors at the facility had been suspended since the explosion of the No. 4 reactor spread a cloud of radiation over eastern and northern Europe April 26, 1986. The No. 4 reactor is now sealed in concrete.

Addition of No. 5 and No. 6 reactors to the four-reactor plant would have made it the biggest atomic energy station in the world, supplying the needs of the Ukraine as well as of Eastern Europe.

The Soviet Union has 45 nuclear reactors in operation at 16 locations, and 34 more plants are under construction at 15 locations, according to official figures.

Output Goal Delayed

The decision to stop using the economical and simple graphite reactors could delay the Soviet Union's plans to double nuclear energy output to 22% of its needs by the year 2,000.

Tass said the decision was made because of safety.

The government has decided to rebuild power blocks that were constructed in the 1970s and are operating, Tass said. The reconstruction will take place between 1989 and 1994, it said.

"These and all the newly constructed power blocks will be equipped with additional safety systems, which ensure safe cooling in case of an emergency," Tass said.

The new systems will allow inspectors to contain any radioactive leaks from the reactor complex, the press agency said. Soviet engineers will have designs by the mid 1990s for a new generation of power stations.

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