KIEV, July 11 (RIA Novosti) - Kiev and NATO have launched a joint project to rid Ukraine of radioactive waste left over from the Soviet era, Ukraine’s envoy to the North Atlantic alliance said on Thursday.
The four-year project aims to clean up radioactive waste at nine military facilities in the country, which will be reburied in the Chernobyl exclusion zone, said Ihor Dolgov, head of Ukraine’s NATO mission.
"This is not nuclear fuel, but low-level waste produced by the activities of the Soviet Army," he said, adding 25 million euros funding has been earmarked for the project.
A 30-kilometer (19-mile) exclusion zone was put in place around the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant following the reactor explosion there in 1986, which caused highly radioactive fallout to spread over a wide area around the plant.
Ukraine, which had the world's third-largest nuclear arsenal after the breakup of the USSR, abandoned nuclear weapons in 1996 in exchange for security guarantees from the US, Russia and Britain. At a nuclear security summit in spring 2010, Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovych promised to dispose of all enriched uranium stocks on Ukrainian territory.