Chernobyl zone via certain changes may be to our advantage

Чернобыльская зона через определенные изменения может стать нашим преимуществом

Vlashchenko: Today our guest is environment Minister Ostap Semerak.

A goodfirst night. Do you have the concept of ecological security of Ukraine?

Semerak:In fact, any Minister is a politician, first and foremost. And when I met with the Ministry and with the environmental community, and to meet 136 registered public associations – we spoke for 3.5 hours. Together we came out winners because we found synergy. Idea that I suggest to people – I don’t want to compete with environmentalists who work for many years, I am a politician who came to help enforce this policy. Help me and I will help you. This is a good start, and we found mutual understanding. Of course, plans and developments there are in the Ministry, but the Ukrainian politicum are not ready to implement the policy of environmental protection. Policy, the vast majority of when you read the name of our Ministry, most focus on the second part of the title: “Ecology and natural resources”. Natural resources want to do a lot of people. Because money is resources. Ecology and want to do a few people. Last parliamentary week, BP has proved that it is, unfortunately, thinks so too. A lot of bills, eco-friendly, to fulfil our obligations to Europe. For example, the law on the assessment of the impact on the environment. Actually, the debate is incorrect. Because it is too liberal MPs say they do not need to do this assessment – it is necessary to do an open gate to all investments. This is the wrong approach. Moreover, Western banks now do not give credit to their companies either in the West or even when they come to Ukraine if they are not present in the package for a loan the examination of the impact on the environment. For example, in Kiev there’s a company that bought the land and wants something to invest and build. It’s good, but this company invests in the construction of tire recycling or disposal of mercury – will the people of Kiev were happy? Whether Ukraine will be happy with this investment? You obviously don’t. Every investment project that is done in the West, is the environmental assessment – the impact on the environment. And if it a negative rating, such investment is not made. Western business is responsible. We are not Mature enough. I don’t know if I’ll be able during my tenure to politicians to prove it, but the Ukrainian society is already understands. And such a large number of public organizations which in contact with me, which came to the Ministry, which has offered its own priorities, suggests that this is probably the strong community of public organizations.

– The most dangerous of selecting our environment – poor quality water, land degradation, deforestation, hazardous geological processes and domestic waste. For example, the illegal amber industry absolutely destroys agricultural land, coniferous forests, and water resources. What to do with it?

– When we are talking about amber, we need to talk about the bowels in General. Amber has typically four components. The environmental component and the Ministry need to address that. Criminal, social aspects because it works up to 10 thousand people, and cost-fiscal component. Therefore, the solution to this problem should be comprehensive and strategic. Is the order of the Prime Minister to first Deputy Prime Minister Stepan Kubiv, who is also the Minister of the economy, so he gathered all this component and started to work. My approach is any use of the bowels should occur in a transparent, open environment. Today in the Ministry we take the information of the explored deposits of amber and want to prepare a proposal for a business where you can get this amber and using open, transparent auctions to sell it. Obligations to the company that bought and paid for public auction with real money, had obligations the reclamation of these lands. It will not touch the forest, because to get there amber – this means to cut the forest. There is a open area where you can begin this work.

News on topic: state border service has published aerial surveys of places of illegal extraction of amber

– How you can actually control?

– Needs to be total reform of the subsoil. I started doing this, it is the responsibility of our Ministry. When we talk about the bowels, we should start with water. This is a very limited resource, and Ukraine has this resource, and we must preserve it. Oil, gas, sand, clay – Ukraine is a rich country. According to the law, it all belongs to the Ukrainian people, but, unfortunately, a very small part of the Ukrainian people enjoys these benefits. That is why our Ministry and still had great fame in the most corrupt that these resources were used in a corrupt manner. Therefore, only the open procedure, competitive investment, attractive environment. But the investor is not enough that the procedure was clear, open and transparent – it is also important to have assurance. The process of investing in the extraction of mineral resources shall be longer than the average life of the government. So these models we need to do is to install and ask the Ukrainian society, investors and international partners – to control that rules are not changed. Without media, without public oversight, to do so would be unrealistic.

Related news: From the beginning, the guards seized 410 kg of amber, which tried to take

– All discussing the issue of forests. BP voted a law which banned the export of 10 years of wood-logsand. But there is smuggling. Do have treaties with the EU that we should bargainaboutWats the forest? Why do we have to act in accordance with the interests of the West, and not in accordance with Ukrainian interests?

– The law was passed, and it prohibits the export of roundwood. But this forest goes under the guise of firewood or something else. In fact, the ideology of the law was to ensure that forest that is cut down in Ukraine should be recycled in Ukraine, and then as products go for export. But any prohibition leads to a search for ways of businessmen. Criticism goes in the direction of Ukraine from the EU and the WTO, that such a law violates our free trade obligations. There are fiscal instruments of protection – it is possible not to prohibit, and to create fiscal methods so that it will not be so profitable. You could go sophisticated and take into account our interests and to be predictable partners with the neighbors. The EU may say that if we’re unpredictable trading partners, they can apply to us any sanctions. The EU is already more than a year leading us in this discussion. When I was a Deputy, I have known of the letter from the EU delegation, during negotiations this conversation was going, just now, all of that intensified with the election of a new government and withdrawal from the political crisis, the parliamentary. This is all me as the Minister most interested in illegal logging. The root cause of this export is deforestation. I realized while working in the Ministry that actually predatory deforestation occurs not only in the Carpathians. I was approached by people from Kherson, I had seen it in Chernihiv, Kiev and around the green light are eliminated. But very often this deforestation is legal. When you start to lift the documents of those predators, the forest, you see that they have the legalized right to do so. There are standards adopted at the governmental level, on procedures. And I raise the issue that we need to change these standards and these procedures. And until we change, we urgently need to stop deforestation, to the adoption of these standards. I did a vertical of his Ministry, signed the corresponding order.

Related news: Austrian company will deal with illegal logging with the help of modern technology

– You in this Groisman supported?

– Groisman – my partner. He talked about this at the last meeting of the government and gave relevant instructions. Is a working group, headed by the Forestry Agency, and it is not subordinate to the Ministry of nature, but is subordinate to the Ministry of agriculture. I call it: “the Fox assigned to guard the chickens”.

Related news: the Cabinet intends to dismiss the head “Ukrlis” due to massive deforestation

– How will you control the process?

– We are members of this working group, we have submitted a proposal, and now there is a debate: our option or the option of foresters. I really hope the strong support of the Prime Minister.

– Any more questions on scrap metalhave. Adopted the law on increasing taxes from 10 to 30 euros per ton. The export industry is more profitable for Ukraine than the export of scrap metal. In this respect, it is possible to do for Ukraine?

– The law on scrap metal has supported Ukraine. For them it is a cheaper raw material, because it became unprofitable to export the scrap metal, which becomes the raw material in Hungary, Poland, etc. Is an example of a fiscal policy of our state, but it is necessary to analyze the specialists – I am not a tax expert, but this is an example acceptable to the Europeans out of the situation, and it helps Ukrainian producers. Ukraine, in General, should move from raw material export state to state, that produces products. One of the strategies which we began in the Ministry, concerns the exclusion zone. Today, the exclusion zone has become much safer than it was 30 years ago. Since 1986, radiation levels fell by 10 thousand times. Area of Chernobyl because certain changes may be to our advantage. Ukraine and the Ukrainian science got unique knowledge. Today, the Japanese come to us to learn.

– Many people are concerned about what is being planned repository for nuclear waste at Chernobyl.

– This project leads “Energoatom”, Ministry of energy, but in the territory of the exclusion zone, which is subordinate to the Ministry of the environment. We control and ensure that all the processes that take place there, were transparent. I think it is very positive that the EBRD and the “Big seven” are participants in the construction of safe objects in there. This arch, which will close the fourth unit, is a new repository for spent nuclear fuel with Chernobyl, because there are old storage that will end their useful life in 2026. You will be the first who will be known in two weeks Ukraine has completed extracting nuclear fuel from all reactors at the Chernobyl plant. We still have the damaged nuclear fuel in the first unit, we will complete this process and we will make minus one nuclear installation and increase security level. As for the Central storage of spent nuclear fuel, this project discussed a few years and still not built. We are talking about the store where “Energoatom” would be to put the spent fuel from all Ukrainian power plants – nuclear power plants. Today, spent fuel is transported to Russia for reprocessing, Ukraine and each year paying for this $ 200 million. 2018 Ukraine, according to international conventions, would be obliged waste from reprocessing of this fuel to take back to Ukraine and them somewhere to bury. That is, a country that has become a source of production of nuclear waste, after processing them needs to dispose. In two years we will stand before the task, how to do it. Therefore, it was decided in the so-called 10-kilometer zone to consider doing this project. My position is environmental. We make sure that “Energoatom” this project was done safely, transparently, of course. So far, the project is at the level of the discussion of documents, no construction work is not underway there. We will be sure that any solution which will take the Ukrainian government, consistent with the safety of all citizens of Ukraine.

Related news: From the territory of the Chernobyl NPP attempted to smuggle 250 kg of radioactive metal

– How should we deal with the landfills, which we have 9000 acres?

– In Europe it is a profitable business. In Ukraine it did not. Garbage and waste are two different things. Recycling household waste is big business. I saw in Switzerland, in the city, a plant that recycles garbage of this city and provides heat and hot water. And there’s no smell, no debris, and now they think, as neighboring territories to collect the garbage, because it is a profitable business for the local community. The situation is even worse when we talk about hazardous waste. During the first month of our work we have prepared the decision about the management of hazardous waste. There is a story that we want to offer, and hope the government supports it. Now there are several hundred companies that are licensed for the disposal or storage of hazardous waste. There is a big question – how utilized is there technology? For example, near Lviv there is a huge repository of tars and no one knows how to dispose of them. But in Lviv there is a factory, which I attended, for the disposal of mercury lamps. This is one of six factories on the globe who is able to be disposed of. There are companies that make a profit and implementing the disposal. But there is another example – rocket fuel. Ukraine gave the opportunity, as a state, to any number of private companies take components of this fuel in the so-called storage. And very often it turns out that on some warehouses in which the barrels may be something inside, and nobody knows what it is. We have decided to prohibit the storage of long – only two weeks and only those companies that have a right to dispose and have power at disposal. This is a very huge corruption scheme, which we are challenged to overcome. Is business, including among parliamentarians, which is behind those companies that actually sell the paper and not utilized.

– Do you have a question?

– And in some parks of Kiev you like to relax?

– I almost never rest, but love the woods, live in the woods. But I always question why in Europe is nowhere in parks cigarette butt, etc. Why do we not treat the earth on which we live?

Thank you for coming.