Ukraine's Chernobyl nuclear power plant faces potentially dangerous power cut due to debt

The Chernobyl nuclear power plant, site of the world's worst nuclear accident, is facing a potentially dangerous power cut due to a huge debt, an official said Friday.

The state-run company responsible for decommissioning the plant where a reactor exploded in 1986 in the world's worst commercial nuclear accident, owes more than US$6 million (Ђ4.6 million) in overdue wages and unpaid bills for electricity, gas, fuel and transport, said company spokesman Semyon Shtein.

Shtein warned that the cutoff of electricity and gas supplies could be "rather dangerous and it can result in breaches of nuclear safety." He did not elaborate.

Shtein said his company had warned Ukraine's government of the potential danger.

He said the plant will be forced to use its own scarce fuel reserves to power generators and provide transport for workers, if the plant is cut off from the power grid and gas supply.

The Soviet-era accident on April 26, 1986, at the plant about 100 kilometers (some 60 miles) north of the Ukrainian capital sent radioactive fallout over then-Soviet Ukraine, Russia, Belarus and much of northern Europe.

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