The Miami Herald
September 30, 1998
Castro halts work on nuclear reactor
It won't restart for `a long time,' he says

             HAVANA -- (AFP) -- Cuban President Fidel Castro has announced that work
             on the country's Juragua nuclear reactor, which was begun with Soviet aid, has
             been suspended indefinitely.

             It will be ``a long time, a very long time'' before construction is restarted, Castro
             said Monday in a speech to the Fifth National Congress of Committees for the
             Defense of the Revolution.

             But he attacked U.S. hostility to the project, saying Washington was prepared to
             cooperate on nuclear technology with North Korea and sell nuclear technology to

             The announcement appeared to mark the end of the project and the accompanying
             political wrangle with Washington.

             Although work has been suspended on Juragua since 1992, a few months after the
             Soviet Union collapsed, Cuban authorities periodically discussed resurrecting the
             project, provoking protests from Washington.

             In March of last year Moscow alluded to the possibility of a resumption of work
             on the reactor, although it has not taken any action in the following months.

             At this point, the Cuban government no longer considers nuclear power the
             solution to the island's chronic shortage of electricity.

             Workers still maintain the construction site in Cienfuegos province on Cuba's
             southern coast, using a Russian grant of $30 million made in 1993.

             The reactor, begun in 1980, has cost $1 billion so far, and it would cost an
             additional $750 million and four years to finish it, according to official estimates.

             Washington is fiercely opposed to having a nuclear reactor less than 200 miles
             from the Florida Keys.

             But the Cubans have always argued that the technology of the Juragua reactor is
             different from Chernobyl and that their security measures would prevent a
             repetition of the 1986 Ukrainian disaster in the Caribbean.


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