Ukraine plans this year to shut down the Chernobyl nuclear plant, site of the world’s worst nuclear accident, Ukranian Pres. Leonid Kuchma said Saturday. But Kuchma told U.S. Energy Secretary Bill Richardson, who was in Ukraine for a two-day visit, that the plant will close only after the U.S. and other industrialized nations hammer out a deal to help compensate Ukraine for the energy it will lose. Richardson pledged $22.5 million from the U.S. to help build a thermal power plant, as well as additional money to help Ukranian industry improve energy efficiency and to repair the aging concrete tomb that was built around the radioactive rubble of the Chernobyl reactor that exploded in 1986.
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