The FINANCIAL — The Chernobyl tragedy led Ukraine to abandon its nuclear arsenal, but the country needs nuclear power as its main energy source, Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovych said on April 26, according to RIA Novosti.
Ukraine witnessed one of the world's worst man-made disasters at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant on April 26, 1986 when a plume of radioactive fallout was released into the atmosphere and over an extensive geographical area, including the western Soviet Union and most of Europe.
"Ukraine was the first to feel and realize the danger originated from the peaceful use of atomic energy and it was, perhaps, one of the reasons for our country to voluntary give up its nuclear weapons," Viktor Yanukovych said in a statement marking the 24th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster.
Ukraine became a non-nuclear nation when it sent last of its 1,900 strategic nuclear warheads to Russia for dismantling.
"We have also set an example for the world community by recently adopting a resolution on the turning over of our remaining reserves of highly enriched uranium," Yanukovych said.
At the same time, the Ukrainian president reiterated the country's need for nuclear energy supplies.
"Whether we want it or not, Ukraine's energy future is impossible without the nuclear energy industry," Yanukovych said.
In 2007, nuclear energy supplied 47.5% of Ukraine's electricity production of 195 billion kWh. Ukraine plans to build 11 new reactors by 2030, almost doubling its current nuclear power capacity.