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In 1983, the Soviet Union inaugurated two nuclear reactors in what is now Ukraine. One of them, unit four at Chernobyl, experienced an explosion and fire three years later that released large quantities of radioactive particles into the atmosphere — a catastrophic accident whose effects are still being felt far beyond Ukraine’s borders. The other reactor, unit one at the South Ukraine Nuclear Power Station, remains in operation, though all indications suggest that it should be retired.

The prolonged operation of unit one and the country’s aging nuclear power plants probably would not have been possible without financial support from EU taxpayers, delivered through the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the European Atomic Energy Community as part of a €600 million “safety upgrade” program. In defiance of both the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (the Espoo convention) and the EBRD loan agreement, the program was undertaken in the absence of any consultation with Ukraine’s European neighbors.

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