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Saturday, March 6, 1999 Published at 08:40 GMT

World: Europe

Concern over plans to reopen a reactor at Chernobyl

Officials from the European Bank for Reconstruction have criticised plans by the Ukrainian authorities to reopen a reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.

They say they are concerned about the safety of reactor number three, which sits next to the remains of the world's worst nuclear disaster, because of a failure to put in place extra safety measures that had been agreed.

Engineers have been carrying out repairs on the reactor, and it's due to be switched back on today. Our Moscow correspondent says the Ukrainian authorities have promised to close down Chernobyl once and for all by next year.

He says the West has said it will help pay for two new reactors , but the cost is turning out to be astronomical. Meanwhile, workers at five nuclear power stations - including the one at Chernobyl - are threatening to go on strike if an agreement over unpaid wages is not reached.

They are demanding a total of fifteen-million dollars' worth of outstanding wages.

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