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Tuesday, March 9, 1999 Published at 18:18 GMT

World: Europe

EU criticises Ukraine's decision to reopen Chernobyl

Ukraine has rejected criticism by the European Commission that its decision to restart the only active reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power station had created serious risks.

The Ukrainian deputy energy minister, Gennady Yaroslavtsev, said Chernobyl was the safest of all similar nuclear power plants in the former Soviet Union.

The World Association of Nuclear Operators concluded after a safety evaluation last year that Chernobyl's closure was a matter of urgency, but correspondents say Ukraine's problem is how to meet power demand if it's closed.

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