KIEV (Reuters)–As the world entered another millennium on Saturday–Soviet-built nuclear reactors scattered across the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe appeared to be running safely despite earlier fears of 2000 computer bugs.
In Ukraine–the Chernobyl power plant–one of whose reactors exploded in 1986 in the world’s worst civil nuclear disaster–said it had entered the New Year without problems.
"Everything is fine," shift manager Olexander Oleseyuk told Reuters by telephone from the station–50 miles from the capital Kiev. "The (one operational) reactor is working normally." The Chernobyl catastrophe in April 1986–when one of the station’s reactors exploded–contaminated vast areas in neighboring Russia and Belarus and spewed radioactive dust across Europe.
In the Caucasus republic of Armenia–the deputy director of Metzamor nuclear power station–Slavik Danielyan–told Reuters: "The New Year has come and no problems have been detected at our station. We had not expected anything unusual." In the Baltic state of Lithuania–the Ignalina nuclear power plant–which has the largest Chernobyl-type reactors still operating–also entered 2000 without troubles. "The date passed normally. The work was not interrupted and there were no problems with the computers or the automated systems," said Ignalina General Director Viktor Shevaldin.