April 22, 2011
On April 20, 2011, the City Youth NGO “Ecoclub” filed a complaint to the Espoo Convention Implementation Committee about violations of the international obligations by Ukraine. The purpose of the complaint is to bring Ukraine into compliance by using international legal mechanisms and to protect rights of Ukrainians and the public of affected countries.
The Espoo Convention is a short name for the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context signed at Espoo City (Finland) in 1991. The Espoo Convention is an international agreement that commits states to conduct environmental impact assessment of proposed commercial projects that can affect the environment of another country.
Our country ignored its obligation to carry out an environmental impact assessment before prior to taking the decision to extend nuclear units’ lifetime. The Government has never notified affected countries (Poland and Belarus) about its intention to extend lifetime old Rivne nuclear power units No1 and No2 over designed time limits. It took a little effort for the state operating company “Energoatom” to obtain a new license for the units` further operation.
The Plans on NPPs Lifetime Extension over Designed Limits in Ukraine are foreseen by the Energy Strategy of Ukraine for the Period till 2030, approved by the Decree of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine No 145-r from March 15, 2006. They are implemented under the Complex Work Program on Lifetime Extension of Operating Units of Nuclear Power Plants approved by the Decree of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine No 263-r from April 29, 2004, which determines that the NPP units of Ukraine are designed to operate 30 years.
On December 10, 2010, the on-site meeting of the Board of the State Nuclear Regulatory Committee of Ukraine took place at Rivne NPP, where a decision on RNPP Units No 1 and No 2 lifetime extension for 20 years was adopted.
“Unpredictable coincidence” causes nuclear disaster in Japan”. This kind of coincidence happened to nuclear power plants, which operated after lifetime extension. There is hardly any experience with aging reactors after they exceeded the 30 year they were originally designed for. Components and material of a nuclear power plant are under extreme conditions of high radiation and high pressure, the risk of failure increases enormously by each year of prolonged operation.”, – says the Head of the NGO “Ecoclub” Andriy Martunuyk. “Energoatom had to prepare the environmental impact assessment of the nuclear units’ lifetime extension project. And such assessment should necessarily cover the decommissioning of the units as well as the spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste management. In order to achieve this we complained to the Espoo Convention Implementation Committee”, – Andriy continues.
Complaint was developed with legal support by the Resource and Analysis Center “Society and Environment” and the European ECO-Forum.
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